Kentucky town shaken by killing of 7-year-old girl who vanished from crowd at football game

Posted at 4:22 PM, Nov 20, 2015
and last updated 2015-11-20 22:33:23-05

By Ralph Ellis


(CNN) -- The killing happened quickly and left a small Kentucky town reeling.

The arrest took a week.

Gabriella "Gabbi" Doolin, 7, disappeared from a crowd watching a youth football game November 14 in Scottsville, a town of about 4,200 people near Bowling Green, CNN affiliate WSMV reported.

When her parents realized she was missing, an announcement was made on the public address system. The game was stopped and everybody in the stands started looking for her.

Less than half an hour later her body was found in a creek about 400 yards from the Allen County-Scottsville High School stadium, where the game had been played, WSMV said.

The town was shaken.

"It's just something we never thought would happen," Misty Hollars, a friend of the slain girl's father, told WSMV. "We are a small town. We watch everybody else's kids."

Scottsville mourned as small towns do.

A Facebook page was set up. A home run derby and a fishing tournament were organized to raise money to help the family with funeral expenses. T-shirts were sold with words remembering "Scottsville's little angel." A prayer vigil was held on the town square. A crowd attended the funeral Thursday.

On Friday, an arrest was made.

Timothy Madden, 38, of Scottsville, was charged with murder, kidnapping, first-degree rape and first-degree sodomy, Kentucky State Police said at a press conference.

In a jailhouse interview with CNN affiliate WDRB, Madden said the charges were "bogus."

"I've done nothing wrong," he said. "I'm a very innocent man. They can ask anybody that knows me."

Madden said he went to school with Gabbi's father and was friends with the Doolin family. He said he attended the game that night and his daughter cheered with Gabbi. Police interviewed him that night, he said.

"They interrogated me -- like three or four times," he told WDRB. "Polygraph. I give them my clothes that night. They did mention I had blood on my clothes. But I rubbed against the fence, like I said."

Madden is being held in the Barren County jail on a $1 million bond.

"I think it's safe to say Allen County has changed forever," said B.J. Eaton, public information officer for the Kentucky State Police post investigating the case, speaking to CNN affiliate WBKO.

Mark Ross, speaking to WBKO at a prayer vigil before the arrest was made, expressed the community's disbelief.

"You just don't realize that there are people that would do this that are in this community," he said. "I don't know if they're from here or where they're from, but that someone could actually do that in an area where you feel so safe. You just don't, you just don't think it could happen."