EVANSVILLE, IN (WFIE) - The discovery of Aleah Beckerle's body, followed by the arrest of the man police say killed her, came quickly last week.
One man heads the team responsible for finding justice for Aleah. Evansville Police Detective Brent Melton, the lead detective on Aleah's case, has never spoken in depth about his role in the investigation until now.
Detective Melton says there was never a time that detectives weren't working to find Aleah. This investigation was more than a missing person case to him.
This case was different because Aleah was someone he knew. Detective Melton has been investigating Aleah's case from the start.
"We call ourselves the violent crimes unit," Detective Melton explained. "We work stabbings, shootings, deaths, murders and you see a lot of horrible things. But it's so rare to be called to a scene where you quickly realize what a truly innocent victim this girl was."
June 16, 2016, a month before her disappearance, Detective Melton met Aleah when he was called to investigate a report of shots fired inside her home.
"I remember this truly innocent girl," the detective recalled. "Here's a young lady who had to be fed, bathed, she couldn't walk. Her mother, Cara and her family, Lydia, they had to care for her 24 hours a day."
Demarco Roach, the father of Terrence Roach who was charged with Aleah's murder, was arrested after police say he fired rounds, including one bullet hitting a door frame just a short distance from Aleah.
"I saw how Aleah acted, the sounds that she made, and the way she smiled at you and the way she'd raise her hand up to you," Detective Melton said.
Just weeks later, on July 17th, 2016, he got the call that Aleah was missing.
"From that moment on, I've never been able to get that day out of my head because I interacted with her," Detective Melton said. "Of course, it weighs on you because it's rare to have a truly innocent victim like that. And if there's an innocent victim out there, it's Aleah Beckerle."
This is only a portion of our interview. Our 14 News behind-the-scenes exclusive continues this week with Detective Melton and his dedication, seek justice for Aleah.