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Whipple’s Grandfather Offers Insight Into Possible Motive

LOGAN, Utah — The family of Alex Whipple points to his troubled childhood as a possible motive into why he murdered his 5-year-old niece, Elizabeth Shelley.

“Alex’s mother walked out on him and his siblings at a young age and he never got over that,” Bill Whipple, Alex’s grandfather said. “I think he wanted to hurt the family — he wanted to lash out and this was perhaps his whole motive.”

Bill Whipple said although his 21-year-old grandson has had a very difficult life of crime, drug abuse and homelessness, the family never expected he would commit such a heinous crime.

“We never, never thought he would be a murderer,” he said. “We were just blindsided.”

He said his troubled grandson’s criminal history ramped up in 2017 when he let him stay at his Providence home while he was out of town.

“He ransacked my house, stole stuff from me and hawked it then he went across the street to my neighbors and stole their car,” he said.

That led UHP troopers on a 40-mile chase. Alex Whipple was sentenced to prison in March but that sentence was suspended and he was ordered to 180 days in jail and five years probation.

Utah’s Department of Corrections Adult Probation and Parole issued a warrant for Whipple’s arrest on April 29 because he failed to follow the terms of his parole.

His family said that was because he lost his job and one of the terms of his probation was to keep a job.

Bill Whipple said his grandson ended up in Brigham City and just two weeks ago reached out to his sister, Lizzy’s mother, for help. She picked him up and brought him to Logan.

“It was a fateful, fateful thing and she has beaten herself for it,” Bill Whipple said.

He believes his grandson was depressed but in denial of his mental health issues.

“He would not accept any help,” he said. “We tried, I told him many times. He looked at me one day and said, ‘grandpa, am I crazy’ and I said ‘yes, I believe you have problems.’”

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