LAWRENCE, Kan. — Several hours after the body of a 5-year-old girl was recovered Saturday morning from the Kansas River near downtown Lawrence, her mother has been arrested and charged with murder and attempted murder.
Lawrence police announced shortly after 5:30 p.m. that Scharron R. Dingledine, 26, of Columbia, Missouri, had been charged with first-degree murder in the death of her daughter and attempted first-degree murder of her 1-year-old son, who remains hospitalized with critical injuries.
Dingledine and her infant son were rescued Friday afternoon after the car they were riding in went into the Kansas River. The 5-year-old girl also was in the car, but Douglas County Search and Recovery Dive Team was unable to locate her at that time.
Police pulled the car from the river Friday afternoon, but the girl wasn’t in it and the search was called off overnight.
Dingledine and her two children were the only people in the car. She is currently being held at Douglas County Jail without bond.
The investigation is ongoing and anyone with information is asked to contact the Lawrence Police Department at 785-832-7509.
Lawrence Police Department Capt. Trent McKinley praised a team effort for the rescue and search, thanking the power plant for shutting down its hydroelectric operation to calm the waters.
McKinley also indicated Saturday morning that it was highly unusual for a car to be in that area of the park.
"It is unusual to see people down here in vehicles, if they are not going to that power plant," McKinley said.
He said Saturday morning that police planned to interview Dingledine at the hospital “to try to understand better what occurred and why,” McKinley said.
According to an initial press release from Friday, Lawrence police said a vehicle was reported in the Kansas River near Sixth and Vermont Streets around 1:15 p.m.
Lawrence resident John Christian told 41 Action News he witnessed the first moments after search crews arrived at the scene.
“When I got down by the water, there were five rescuers already in the water,” he said. “They were hollering, ‘There’s bubbles, there’s bubbles, there’s bubbles.’”
Christian, along with several other residents, watched for hours as search crews worked to pull the car from the water.
Aliyah Wycoff, who has a 4-year-old daughter, cried as she watched the car being removed from the river.
“I can only imagine it happening to my family,” she said. “Prayers go out to the family.”