Man held, suspected of murder in death of Ind. teen

September 18, 2011 (PORTER COUNTY, Ind.)

Bach was last seen leaving her home Thursday night, and her car was found in Wheeler, Ind. Friday. Her body was found Saturday afternoon following a massive search in Northwest Indiana.

Authorities Sunday were holding the male acquaintance of Amanda Bach on suspicion of murder, but he has not yet been charged with a crime. Meanwhile, her family, friends and the community are mourning her death.

"Everyone in Amanda's family loved her very much. Her smile lit up the room whenever she walked in," said family spokesman Dr. Carlos Cespedes. "She was too beautiful for this world, and we will all miss her very much."

Bach went missing Thursday night. She was last seen leaving her Portage home around 10 p.m. Thursday to visit the Wheeler home of the male acquaintance now being held by authorities.

That male person of interest was taken into custody in Bloomington, Indiana, where he was reportedly visiting a friend.

Investigators say Bach's body was found Saturday afternoon about 300 yards from that teen's home, within three miles of the Deans General Store in Wheeler where her 2006 gold Pontiac G6 was found.

"She was the sweetest girl you could ever know. She was the nicest person in the world and would do anything for anybody, help anybody out," said Eric Driver, a friend of the victim.

Bach's friends and classmates held a candlelight vigil in her honor Saturday night at Portage High School. The 19-year-old graduated from there last spring, and her relatives say she had planned to attend Indiana University Northwest.

"She's a gorgeous girl. Everybody knew her. She was one of those girls if you didn't know her, there was something wrong with you," said Angel Berg, a classmate.

Witnesses say the car had a flat tire, the driver side door was open, and the keys were in the ignition.

"To think that somebody thinks they have the right to take someone's life like that, it's just ignorant. It's not right at all," Driver said.

Investigators would not outline a motive for the crime or give further details about their probe Sunday.

"This investigation is ongoing. There is a significant amount of work yet to be done," said Porter County Sheriff David Lain. "We are asking anyone with any knowledge of the events or people related to this crime that took place since last Thursday to please come forward for the sake of Amanda and her family."

On Saturday, Bach's loved ones organized a search, and her parents made a heartfelt plea for her safe return.

"She is the sunshine of my life. She's beautiful. Amanda, please come home if you're out there," said Sandra Bach, the victim's mother.

Those who knew Bach offered condolences to her family.

"My prayers will be with them, and they've got a lot of people in the Portage community. Everybody will be supporting them for sure because she was definitely loved by the community, loved by a lot of people," said Driver.

An autopsy is pending, and funeral arrangements have not been released.

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