Bath County community rocked by murder of 6-year-old girl

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BATH CO., Va. (WDBJ) -- There are new details about the murder investigation in Bath County - the first in nearly a decade.

Joe Dashiell/WDBJ7

The victim is a 6-year-old girl and the suspect is her mother, now charged with first-degree murder.

Sheriff Robert Plecker says the statement Darla Hise made early Sunday morning led to the murder charge, but his investigators are still trying to determine exactly what led to the fatal shooting Saturday night.

"We're waiting on some reports back from the hospital, from the medical examiner. We still have some people we want to talk to, so it's an ongoing investigation," Plecker said.

He says Darla Hise didn't have a criminal record. There was no reason why she would have been prohibited from having a gun.

Adults were baffled by the news.

"It's something that you don't expect to happen in a small community at all, so it makes everybody realize they need to hug and love everybody and go to bat for all these families and children and lift them up," Bath County Supervisor Claire Collins said.

Lifeline Ministry's Children's pastor Melissa Ailstock talked about 6-year-old Abigail.

"She was one of my Kids for Christ children, who would come once a month to church. Precious, precious little girl," Children's Pastor Melissa Ailstock said. "She was always very happy, had lots of little friends, loved to hug. She was a good little girl."

This is something that affects everyone in this small community, and many are rallying around the family.

Sheriff Robert Plecker says his investigators are still conducting interviews and waiting for the results of toxicology tests. He says his deputies are still trying to understand why this happened.

The funeral home handling the arrangements posted Abigail Hise's obituary online.