Two charged with murder after missing 4-year-old found dead

Posted at 9:45 AM, November 20, 2023

By: Cherish Walters

WHITLEY COUNTY, Ky. (Scripps News Lexington) — Two people have been arrested and charged with murder after a missing 4-year-old was found dead in Whitley County.

mugshots of Brittany Slaughter and Adam Hayes

Brittany Slaughter and Adam Hayes are charged with murder in the death of 4-year-old Chloe Darnell.

According to the Whitley County Sheriff’s Department, 24-year-old Brittany Slaughter and 34-year-old Adam Hayes were taken into custody after a body believed to be 4-year-old Chloe Darnell was recovered.

Slaughter and Hayes are both charged with murder, abuse of a corpse, and tampering with physical evidence.

The body has been sent to the state medical examiner’s office in Frankfort for an autopsy.

“There’s nothing that could be more tragic, in my mind, than the death of this child, the senseless death of this child, you know?” said Whitley County Sheriff Bill Elliotte.

Elliotte said his investigators got the case earlier this week. He said family members told them they hadn’t seen 4-year-old Chloe Darnell since September.

“From what I understand, it’s like every time they would ask where Chloe was, she was here or she was there,” he said.

This week, he said, the family came to authorities. Elliotte said Brittany Slaughter, who had custody of Chloe, was considered missing. He said they found her last night. From there, he said they got information that led them deep into the forests of Whitley County.

“There’s a cemetery in the Daniel Boone National Forest called Ridener Cemetery and it was just out… they had went to that cemetery and went into the woodline from that cemetery,” Elliotte said.

That’s where, he said, they found 4-year-old Chloe’s body in a shallow grave. Now, family members are raising money to give Chloe a proper burial.

“I made the comment yesterday, we’re going to bring this child home one way or the other. Of course, we wanted to bring the child home alive, but I’ll just be honest with you, from early on in the investigation, it didn’t look like that was going to happen,” Elliotte said.

This story was originally published by Scripps News Lexington, an E.W. Scripps Company.