Jophlin pleads not guilty to murder, concealment of daughter

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BENTON, Ill.  - A woman who authorities suspect of concealing the drowning of her 8-year-old daughter now faces a grand jury's indictment accusing her in the killing.

Mary Jophlin, 28, pleaded not guilty Tuesday in Franklin County to charges of first-degree murder, concealment of a homicide and obstructing justice.

Jophlin is accused of killing Alexus Smothers on July 19 at their West Frankfort home, then hiding the girl's body in a basement crawlspace.

A West Frankfort police officer has testified that Jophlin gave him conflicting accounts of what happened to the girl, first calling the child's death "somewhat accidental" before terming it "not accidental."

Jophlin remains jailed in lieu of $2 million bail.

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