Khighla Parks went missing on Sept. 20, and her family was hopeful she would return home safe and sound. Unfortunately, those dreams were dashed when Parks' body was found at the bottom of a lake. A convicted drug dealer was taken into custody on unknown charges possibly related to her death.
Anthony Balbirnie, 47, is the lead suspect in Parks' disappearance and murder. He has a criminal record for assault, resisting arrest, drug charges, and unlawful use of a weapon, police stated. Balbirnie and Parks may have come across one another on Facebook and become "friends" through the site.
Even though Parks went missing on September 20, her grandmother waited 24 hours to report her to police, telling KY3 News she thought she "had taken off a few days, went to a friend's house or something like that."
Once police got involved, they began canvassing the areas Parks was known to frequent. Fishermen eventually found her body in Truman Lake. Police revealed that her 15-year-old frame had weights tied to her body, which kept her underwater.
An autopsy has been scheduled, but right now it's not clear whether she was dead before she drowned.
Balbirnie was taken into custody on Monday night after leading police on two car chases across Missouri and into Kansas. Police have not said whether he will be formally charged in connection with Parks' murder, but he has been the prime suspect all along.
Balbirnie was thought to have played a part in the abduction of a young girl in 2006, according to KY3 News. She managed to escape, but formal charges were never filed against Balbirnie.
Parks' family will hold a funeral for the young girl on Friday and have said they take comfort in knowing Parks is with God.
"I don't know how people that are not believers ever get through this. But we have the assurance that we will see her one day," her grandmother Bonnie Parks added.