The Kitsap County Sheriff's Office, assisted by the FBI, said
an autopsy concluded that the body found Thursday was that of
Jenise Wright, who was to have entered the first grade this
year. Authorities did not release details on how she was killed,
but said it likely happened on Sunday.
Jenise went to bed on Saturday night in her family home near
Bremerton, on the Kitsap Peninsula near Seattle, and was not
seen by family members the next day, according to sheriff's
Her parents reported Jenise missing after she failed to show up
for Sunday dinner, telling the sheriff's office they had not
been alarmed at first because she often wandered around the
mobile home park where the family lived.
A full-scale hunt for Jenise' killer was under way, Kitsap
County officials said at a news conference.
"We've come to know she was a happy child. A bright light for
those around her," Kitsap County Sheriff's Detective Lieutenant
Earl Smith said.
Jenise's parents, who took lie detector tests on Monday, were
informed the body found on Thursday was likely their daughter
and were receiving grief counseling, police said.
Jenise's killer probably left the crime scene covered in mud,
and authorities were asking people to recall if they had seen
someone soiled or discarding muddy clothes, sheriff's deputy
spokesman Scott Wilson said.
Jenise's home has been searched and investigators were
re-interviewing friends and neighbors, Wilson said. Police also
were collecting dozens of DNA samples from those who knew the
Jenise had been living with her parents and six siblings. Two of
her older siblings were removed from the home after she went
missing because authorities found it prudent, Wilson said,
declining to elaborate.
Court records in Washington state show Jenise's father, James
Wright, was accused of molesting two young family members in
2000 but the charges were reduced to assault.
Neighbors and those participating in the search for Jenise have
left flowers, toys and cards outside the mobile home park, which
has been blockaded by police all week.
(Reporting by Victoria Cavaliere, Editing by Alex Dobuzinskis
and Leslie Adler)
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