A young man who volunteered to join a search party when a 4-year-girl was missing - and hugged the girl's mother to comfort her - admitted killing the child.

Nicholas Bowen, 18, pleaded guilty Wednesday to first-degree murder in the death of Shenee Freeman, abruptly halting jury selection in his trial. Judge Oliver Lobaugh sentenced Bowen to life in prison.The judge told Bowen he was guilty of "the most heinous, disgusting, cowardly crime ever committed in Venango County."