The Missouri man who admitted to killing Breeann Rodriguez, 3, made his initial court appearance on Tuesday in Dunklin County in southeast Missouri.
Shawn Morgan, 43, didn't enter a plea and is arraigning for counsel, Dunklin County Prosecutor Stephen Sokoloff told Reuters.
Morgan allegedly told authorities he suffocated his missing Missouri neighbor on Aug. 6 - when she was last seen - with a white plastic trash bag after finding her playing at his backyard swimming pool. He then allegedly threw the girl's body in a floodway ditch, according to court documents reviewed by the media.
After suffocating Breeann, Morgan allegedly said he placed her body in the same trash bag, drove to the floodway ditches of highway 164 and threw her over the railing. Once he returned home, the suspected child killer took apart the Breeann's bicycle and threw it in the same river system, according to court documents.
Morgan has reportedly told police "he felt like it took an hour for the girl to die."
He was charged over the weekend with first-degree murder, armed criminal action and tampering with evidence in connection with the disappearance of Breeann, according to The Associated Press.
Sokoloff told Reuters he couldn't discuss Morgan's motive. He added that the killing has hit hard in Senath, which is home to about 1,700 people.
"It's horrendous," Sokoloff told Reuters. "The impact on the town has been horrible. It's a small town."
Morgan will next appear in court on Aug. 30, Sokoloff said.
Police are still searching for the body.