Missing Indiana girl found dead, last seen with convicted child killer

Thursday, November 2nd 2006, 11:00 am
By: News On 6

LOGANSPORT, Ind. (AP) _ A missing 16-year-old girl was found dead in a field and authorities have jailed her restaurant co-worker, a convicted child killer.

Investigators found the body of Stephanie Wagner in a northwestern Indiana field Wednesday night after the co-worker, Danny R. Rouse, told them where they could find it, police said at a news conference.

The cause of death was not released.

Rouse, 55, was arrested in connection with her death. He was being held without bond at the Cass County Jail pending a court appearance Thursday.

Rouse worked with the Wagner at the Indian Head Restaurant in Winamac, and left about the same time as Wagner about 9 p.m. Tuesday, said Indiana State Police Sgt. Tony Slocum.

Police found Wagner's abandoned car early Wednesday about 15 miles from the restaurant near Royal Center, the girl's hometown, about 50 miles southwest of South Bend. Her purse was inside, the keys were missing and the driver's side window was rolled down, police said.

Detectives on Wednesday questioned Rouse, who was released in March after serving more than 26 years for murdering a 5-year-old Kansas boy in 1979.

He was convicted of first-degree murder in the slaying of Jason Learst at a Wichita, Kan., apartment, The Wichita Eagle reported Thursday. Rouse also was convicted of stabbing of the boy's mother.