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Arrested teen was staying with mom in Crystal River

The 16-year-old girl arrested in Citrus County last week in connection with an Ohio murder case had been staying with her mother in Crystal River, an Ohio law enforcement officer said Friday.

The officer also said the slaying victim is the girl's father.

Olivia J. Pingleton came to Florida by bus a couple of days before Christmas after her 24-year-old brother, Jesse James Pingleton, called their mother in Crystal River, according to Detective Sgt. Mark Whittaker of the Darke County Sheriff's Office in Greenville, Ohio.

Jesse told their mother that their father, David M. Pingleton, was missing, that he didn't know what happened, and that Olivia was going to come to Florida, the official said.

Olivia and Jesse Pingleton had been living with their father in Greenville. Their mother, identified in a court record as Sherry Mayberry, was divorced from David Pingleton and has remarried.

After learning about the pending charges, Citrus law officers arrested Olivia Pingleton on Jan. 16 at the Citrus County Sheriff's Office. Now the teenager has been extradited to Ohio to face a charge of complicity to aggravated murder.

She is being held at a detention center pending a Friday court appearance, when it will be determined whether she should be tried as an adult.

A reporter on Friday called the telephone number that was listed on the girl's arrest affidavit. A man who answered the phone identified himself as the girl's stepfather, but he declined to give his name or make any comment. He said the girl's mother had gone to Ohio.

Olivia Pingleton and her brother were among five people arrested in connection with the case.

Her brother is charged with aggravated murder, tampering with evidence and gross abuse of a corpse, according to Whittaker. He is being held at the Darke County jail in Ohio.

Jesse Pingleton and another man are accused of shooting David Pingleton the morning of Dec. 15 in his residence. Two other men and Olivia are accused of helping clean the crime scene, Whittaker said. Then, he said, a hole was dug on the property behind a barn, the body was wrapped in plastic, buried and topped with fire wood.

After friends and family had not heard from David Pingleton for days, they went to his residence on Christmas and found it in disarray, with the safe broken into, according to Whittaker.

During a search of Pingleton's property on the day after Christmas, Whittaker said officials found four shovels with fresh dirt and Pingleton's body.

_ Suzannah Gonzales can be reached at 860-7312 or