FORT WAYNE, IND.

- The father of a 9-year-old girl who was found bludgeoned and dismembered said yesterday that he knew the man accused of killing his daughter and had no reason to distrust him.

"I can't talk about it because I'm still coping with it. It's too hard to talk about," Dawayne Maroney of Centerville, Iowa, said in a brief telephone interview with the Associated Press, adding that the gruesome slaying has him overcome with grief.

Maroney said he hadn't recently talked with his daughter, Aliahna Lemmon, or her mother, because they frequently changed their phone number. Maroney said he knew the man accused of killing his daughter, Michael Plumadore, through his daughter's mother, Tarah Souders.

Maroney said he trusted Plumadore.

"I had no reason to suspect anything," he said.

Plumadore, 39, faces a preliminary charge of murder. He made a brief initial court appearance on Tuesday where he was ordered held without bond. He is due back in court tomorrow morning. According to a probable cause affidavit, Plumadore admitted to killing Aliahna in the early morning hours of Dec. 22 by repeatedly striking her in the head with a brick.

Also yesterday, Allen County Coroner E. Jon Brandenberger said he won't be able to determine the cause of death for Aliahna until further tests are completed, including microscopic findings and toxicology results.

According to the probable cause affidavit, Plumadore told authorities he put the girl's body inside trash bags and put it in a freezer in the trailer he lived in that formerly belonged to the girl's grandfather, who died earlier this month. Plumadore told authorities that later that day and early on Dec. 23 he used a hack saw to dismember the girl's body.

Maroney said he plans to attend the funeral, although he doesn't yet know when it will be. The Daily Iowegian in Centreville ran a story that it was helping to raise money to help Maroney attend the funeral.