Thursday, October 23, 2014
Loading...





Death of Washington girl, 6, ruled a homicide

Authorities confirm body found in woods was that of 6-year-old girl; death ruled homicide

Posted on Aug. 8, 2014 at 12:00 a.m. | Updated on Aug. 8, 2014 at 1:57 a.m.

SEATTLE (AP) — An autopsy has confirmed a body found in the woods near a mobile home park where a Washington girl went missing was that of 6-year-old Jenise Wright, authorities said Friday

The coroner also ruled the death a homicide, said Earl Smith, incident commander for the Kitsap County Sheriff’s office. No exact cause of death was immediately released.

Sheriff’s office spokesman Scott Wilson said earlier Friday that the wooded area where an FBI team found the body contained thick brush and likely was muddy. He said the person responsible for the girl’s disappearance likely would have been covered in mud.

Meanwhile, Wilson said authorities are collecting DNA cheek swabs from dozens of residents who volunteer them in the Bremerton-area mobile home park where Jenise lived. The samples could be used to eliminate suspects if investigators later come across DNA evidence, he said, adding the DNA collection might be expanded outside the mobile-home park.

Jenise disappeared over the weekend, and her body was found Thursday in woods near the trailer park. Her family has said she was an outgoing girl

“She was a happy child, a bright light for those around her,” Smith said.

Authorities are focusing on a criminal investigation of the death, though so far no arrests have been made.

The FBI’s Specialty Search Dogs Unit discovered the body after volunteer canine search teams reported their dogs showed interest in a particular area.

Jenise was last seen when she went to bed Saturday night. Her parents waited a day before calling for help because they say the girl had wandered around the Steele Creek Mobile Home Park on her own in the past.

Wilson said Thursday there were no signs of forced entry at Jenise’s home and no indication she was taken from her room.

The girl’s parents are cooperating with authorities, he said.

Hundreds of people, including officers from 15 law enforcement agencies, searched for Jenise, going door to door at the mobile home park on the west side of Puget Sound, across from Seattle.

They also pulled surveillance video from nearby businesses and checked in with sex offenders in the county.

After the search began, state child welfare workers removed two other children, an 8-year-old boy and 12-year-old girl, from the home.

Jenise Wright’s father, James Wright, was charged more than a decade ago with molesting two girls, ages 8 and 15, court records show.

He eventually pleaded guilty in Whatcom County Superior Court in December 2001 to a misdemeanor assault charge related to the older girl. It was not immediately clear why the molestation charges were dropped. Prosecutors there did not return calls.

A judge in Whatcom County Superior Court sentenced Wright to a year in jail but suspended the entire jail term on the condition that he follow certain conditions, including paying fees.

Wilson has said authorities were aware of the past charge against the father, but officers were focused on finding the girl.


Recommended for You


 This Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014, photo shows the apartment complex in Aurora, Colo., which police say is the home of one of the three teenage girls who, according to U.S. authorities, were en route to join the Islamic State group in Syria when they were stopped at an airport in Germany. The two sisters, ages 17 and 15, and their 16-year-old friend have been reunited with their families in Colorado, according to an FBI spokeswoman. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

Posted 24 minutes ago
 FILE - In this Oct. 9, 2014, file photo, Navajo presidential candidate Chris Deschene speaks to supporters in Window Rock, Ariz. Deschene has lost another round in a language fluency dispute, all but ending his bid for office. The tribe's high court on Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014, upheld a ruling from a lower court that said Deschene is not qualified to seek the top elected post because he doesn't speak fluent Navajo. (AP Photo/Felicia Fonseca, File)

Posted 24 minutes ago
 Rob Olson of Erkelens & Olsen Auctioneers displays Rulon Gardner's memorabilia at his auction house Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014, in Salt Lake City. Mementos from the career of Olympic hero Rulon Gardner, including a USA Wrestling robe and a commemorative ring, will be auctioned off Saturday Oct. 25, 2014 in Salt Lake City. Next to it are dozens of medals the Greco-Roman wrestler won during his career, countless knives and watches. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

Posted 34 minutes ago
Back to top ^