Amber Morales Lopez can’t help but break down in tears when talking about the mu*rder of her 4-year-old cousin Chloe Darnell, who authorities believe was ki*lled by members of her own family, before being buried in a shallow grave.
Lopez hadn’t seen Chloe since the summer. September was the last time any family member they’ve spoken with thinks they have seen her, according to Whitley County Sheriff Bill Elliotte.
The toughest part of all this for Lopez is thinking about all the things Chloe will never get.
Straining to speak through her grief, Lopez urged her children, “Hold your kids tight, love your kids, because Chloe’s not going to get that anymore, Chloe’s gone.”
She’s holding her own daughter tightly and can’t seem to let go as she considers Chloe.
Chloe’s body was found in the Daniel Boone National Forest in Kentucky on Friday night, around midnight, in the woods next to a cemetery.
The shallow grave remains unfilled.
“In my opinion, there is nothing more tragic,” Elliotte remarked. “This child’s death, this child’s senseless death.”
Brittany Slaughter, Chloe’s cousin, had custody of her and was charged with her mur*der along with her boyfriend.
Lopez recalls phoning Slaughter on November 3rd, requesting a video call with Chloe.
“Brittany, where’s Chloe?” I asked her. Tears welling up in her eyes, Lopez said, “Let me talk to Chloe. She told me she’s in her room, she’s playing.”
Lopez and Sheriff Elliotte both claimed that Brittany would make excuses like that for everyone. Slaughter would occasionally claim to be sleeping, having a bath, or attending a birthday celebration.
This week, relatives only reported suspicious activity to the authorities after it became apparent.
Sheriff Elliotte compared it to the Casey Anthony case that occurred in Florida a few years prior, in which the mother continued to give reasons for the child’s whereabouts until the family eventually reported it.
Lopez acknowledges now that Slaughter had been deceiving her all along.
Slaughter was arrested and charged with mu*rder, abusing a corpse, and tampering with physical evidence along with her boyfriend, Adam Hayes.
This is the thing that puzzles Lopez. “We would never have imagined that Brittany, of all people, was capable of doing something like this.”
Elliotte would only comment that Hayes has a criminal history, which includes a conviction for child abuse in Tennessee, when we questioned him about theories regarding a possible motive.
Elliotte stated that since the investigation is still ongoing, more people might face charges.
To help with the cost of her funeral, the family is requesting donations on a GoFundMe page.