EVANSVILLE, IN (WFIE) - The family of Aleah Beckerle is speaking out for the first time since the murder trial of Terrence Roach.
Just minutes after the jury, judge and Terrence Roach left the court, Aleah's family left to face this new reality: a not guilty verdict.
"That's when the dam broke for Cara, when all her heartbreak flooded out and her anger," said Aleah's great-aunt, Laura Vanbibber Jackson. "When she said, 'What happened? What happened?' She was speaking for all of us because we had been assured over and over again that this was going to be a guilty verdict, guilty of murder."
Although Roach was found not guilty on all murder charges, Jackson says when she heard his confession, she knew it was him.
"He was talking about how he laid her down in the yard at one point and pick her back up, and he was asked, what was she doing at that point, and he said, she was laughing. There was no reason for him to make that up. That would be exactly what Aleah would do. She was not afraid. She had no reason to fear people."
But Jackson says more questions need to be answered. Was anyone else involved or aware of what happened to Aleah?
"We know the how, the why and the who. Those were the questions that were answered in his confession. Was his confession complete? I don't know. I don't know that we've got the complete answer to everything."
During the nine months Aleah was missing, Jackson says her mother Cara never stopped searching and hoping for answers.
"Her focus has always been on Aleah for those nine months. She didn't focus on what people were saying. She focused on where is Aleah? What's happened to her? Where's my daughter? Is she hurting? Is she alive? And you want to hold on to hope. It's not false hope. We knew the chances that Aleah was alive was not good, but if you don't have hope, you can't get through that next day."
Roach faces up to 18.5 years in prison for the two charges in which he was found guilty. But Aleah's family says that will never be enough.
"This is not just a miscarriage of justice that's going to affect our family. This is a miscarriage of justice that's going to affect the residents of Vanderburgh County and especially Evansville, Indiana, because he'll be back. If he gets out, he'll be back in Evansville."
Jackson also wanted to know more about the truck Roach claimed he used to take Aleah to the South Bedford home. Was it searched or tested for DNA evidence?
Detectives told us Roach had it scrapped and destroyed at a junkyard shortly after he took her.
Roach is scheduled to be sentenced June 27. He faces up to 18.5 years in prison.