The body of a 16-year-old girl was found in a Cass County field hours after police issued an Amber Alert for her, and a co-worker who served prison time for a 1979 murder has been arrested in connection with her death, authorities said Wednesday night.

Stephanie Faye Wagner, of Royal Center, was found dead in a cornfield near county roads 900 North and 700 West on Wednesday evening, police said.

Authorities said Danny R. Rouse, 51, a co-worker of Wagner's at a restaurant in Winamac, indicated to investigators where they could find the body and was being held without opportunity for bail, 6News' Jennifer Carmack reported.

Police didn't say how Wagner died. Rouse, of Delong, was scheduled to attend an initial court hearing in the case Thursday morning.

Police issued an Amber Alert for Wagner on Wednesday morning after her vehicle was found abandoned near her hometown, about 12 miles southeast of the restaurant and about a mile from where her body eventually was found. Her purse was inside the car, and her cell phone, shoes were found outside the vehicle, police said.

Her parents had reported her missing shortly before 4 a.m. because she hadn't returned from her job at the restaurant in Winamac, which is about 45 miles south of South Bend.


Authorities said Wagner was last seen leaving the restaurant at about 9 p.m. Tuesday. State police said they believe Rouse left the restaurant at about the same time.

Police said they took Rouse into custody after he arrived at work on Wednesday morning.

Rouse was released from a Kansas prison in March after serving 25 years for murder and aggravated battery in the 1979 slaying of a 5-year-old boy and the stabbing of the child's mother, the Kansas Department of Corrections said. The mother survived and testified against him.

Upon his release in March, Rouse requested that he be allowed to move to Indiana. His parole supervision was then transferred to a South Bend parole office, 6News reported.