Less than a week after Amber Hagerman was dragged screaming off her bicycle in the middle of the afternoon by a man in a pickup, her body was found floating face-down in a creek, her throat cut.
The gruesome discovery Thursday hit hard in the neighborhood where the 9-year-old Girl Scout was kidnapped Saturday.
Balloons and ribbons hanging from homes and cars in Amber’s favorite color, pink, blew in a cold, stiff wind.
“It’s just so overwhelming to think that somebody could do something like that to a small child,” said Archie Price, 71, who lives down the street from the home of Amber’s grandparents, where the girl had been playing before her disappearance. “I hope whoever has done it is caught quickly.”
The body was found late Wednesday by a man walking his dog outside an apartment complex. The area was about eight miles from the middle-class neighborhood where a witness saw a man drag Amber as she fought and screamed.
Investigators believe the body was dumped upstream and washed north as strong thunderstorms swelled the creek.
“We are all a little numb,” police spokesman Dee Anderson said. “We certainly didn’t want this outcome. I’m not going to say we are shocked or amazed, but we are really disappointed.”
Anderson would not confirm published reports that the body was nude. But a source told The Associated Press the body was nude when it was found.
The body was identified by way of a fingerprint card that her parents had filled out in the event of such a tragedy, said family friend Coy Carlton.
The cause of death was believed to be a cut to the neck, said Tom Gaylor, an investigator at the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s office. He said he didn’t know whether the girl was raped.