August 8, 2014 in City

Searchers for 6-year-old girl find body

Officials promise criminal investigation
Phuong Le Associated Press
 
Mark Harrison photo

Investigators work at the home of Jenise Wright in the Steele Creek Mobile Home Park in East Bremerton, Wash., on Thursday.
(Full-size photo)

SEATTLE — A four-day search for a missing Washington girl who vanished from her home over the weekend came to a tragic end Thursday, as authorities said they believe they have found the body of 6-year-old Jenise Wright.

Authorities in Kitsap County said Thursday afternoon that they’re trying to narrow in on a suspect, and they’re “not ruling out anything.”

“This is going to be a criminal investigation, there’s no doubt about that,” said Deputy Scott Wilson with the Kitsap County sheriff’s office.

An autopsy scheduled for today will determine the manner and cause of death, Wilson said, but “we suspect that she just did not go off by herself and fall into some bushes and die.”

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.

An FBI team using search dogs discovered the body in a forested area near the mobile home park where the girl lived at about 11:30 a.m. Thursday. Her family has been notified.

In a statement, the sheriff’s department said a coroner will make official confirmation of the identity, but “it appears that the body is that of Jenise.”

More than 300 people, including officers from 15 law enforcement agencies, went door to door at the mobile home park where she lived near Bremerton, on the west side of Puget Sound, across from Seattle.

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

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.

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