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Indiana teen lured to death by neighbor who hired her, ‘acted like a jealous boyfriend’: report

Patrick Scott, 59, faces murder charges after 17-year-old Valerie Tindall's body was found buried in a homemade box on his property. The neighbor reportedly hired Tindall to mow lawns.

After a nearly six-month-long search, missing Indiana 17-year-old Valerie Tindall was found just a hundred yards from her worried parents' front door, hidden inside a homemade box on her landscaping boss' property next door. 

Patrick Scott was charged with murder and booked into Rush County Jail on Tuesday evening after the girl's body was discovered. 

Tindall's cause of death has yet to be determined, per the Rush County Sheriff's Department. The remains were positively identified as Tindall's by the county's coroner on Thursday, WTTV reported

Scott also faces obstruction of justice and false informing charges, per court documents obtained by Fox News Digital, stemming from earlier false accounts he gave to police. 

The court documents reveal that Scott confessed to police that he strangled her with a belt, which he continued to wear after the fact, in the bedroom of his home on June 7. 

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"I put it around her neck and I held onto it until she quit," Scott allegedly told police. 

The accused killer told investigators that Tindall had tried to seduce and blackmail him into buying her a new car, per court documents. 

The killing "just kind of happened," he said. When asked if he "hated" the girl, he explained to police that the two had a friendly relationship and did things outside of work, like shopping and going out to eat.

When asked if he was troubled by the murder on his hands, Scott allegedly said that he "wasn't too crazy about it."

He allegedly buried Tindall in a box crafted from two-by-fours and strand boards. He told the police that before he built the box, he kept Tindall's body in his office. 

More than 40 agents descended on Scott's Arlington property on Tuesday, some of whom "instantly" spotted orange-painted fingernails on Tindall's body that matched the nail color she sported in her last social media photo posted on June 7, the day she was last seen, per court documents.

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A second buried box reportedly contained VHS tapes and miscellaneous paperwork. It is unclear what the contents of these documents were. Scott told police he had been using the box to "put s--- in" since July. 

Investigators with the sheriff's department found records showing that Scott purchased the boards at a Home Depot in Greenfield on June 7.

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Scott, who paid Tindall to mow lawns for his landscaping business in the summer, was a trusted neighbor to the girl and her family. 

"She and him had a bond – they were friends," Tindall's mother, Shena Sandefur, told WRTV-TV. "She worked for him, but she also hung out with his family. His granddaughter was her friend, and we went places with them."

However, Sandefur told FOX 59 that she began to feel uneasy about the way the older man was treating her daughter. 

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Sandefur said Scott acted like a "jealous boyfriend" and even tracked the teen's phone. However, Tindall did not see anything wrong with the relationship, she said, because Scott was her boss. 

Tindall's mother told the outlet that another individual overheard Scott telling Tindall he was going to take her to Indianapolis for lunch "someplace special" on June 7, before she vanished. 

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Her abandoned vehicle was later found parked in Shelbyville. Scott, who had been seen driving the car, told police at the time that he moved the vehicle for the girl before she got into his lawn care truck, per FOX 59. 

He claimed at the time that he dropped Tindall off in Homer, roughly five miles from their neighborhood, and she got into a car with an unknown male. FOX 59 reported Scott was previously charged with false informing after telling conflicting stories to investigators.

Not long after Tindall disappeared, Scott was spotted tearing down and burning his garage in the wee hours of the morning. The box that contained the teen's body was reportedly found in the rubble of the garage, Fox 59 reported. 

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On Oct. 11, per court documents, police searched Scott's property with cadaver dogs. The animals reportedly indicated the presence of human remains at a pond on the man's property, but no remains were uncovered. Dog handlers later told police that water is known to hold scent, per WTTV, and that the wind could have carried the scent to the pond. 

The wind was blowing from the direction of the burnt-down garage that day, police noted in their report reviewed by the outlet. 

"Obvious ground disturbance" was also noted on a flyover of the property conducted on Oct. 12, per the outlet. 

The sheriff's department would not clarify to FOX 59 whether new evidence or tips led to Tuesday's search of Scott's property. Fox News Digital was unable to reach the office for comment at press time. 

Scott told police after his Tuesday arrest that his wife and daughter "don't know nothing" about his confessed murder of Tindall, per court documents. 

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In a Wednesday interview with FOX 59, Sandefur lamented her decision to move her daughter to rural Arlington from Indianapolis, a move they made to "get away from violence" in the larger city. 

"[But] we moved across the street from her predator," Sandefur told the outlet. 

The woman told the outlet her daughter was a "really good person" and a "sweet kid" who had experienced trauma at a young age. 

"She worked hard to get her grades up, she was gonna go to college, she was accepted and now she'll never have the chance," Sandefur said. "I wanted to get her help and she wouldn't and I think [Scott] took advantage of that." 

Rush County Sheriff Allan Rice said that even though Scott is behind bars, the case is "far from over." Investigators continue to search the man's property to gather evidence for the man's prosecution. 

The department is reportedly still seeking out tips from the community and anyone who may have spotted the girl with an older man in Shelbyville on June 7. 

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