Law enforcement officers, who had been searching for a 6-year-old girl from Washington State, said they found the child’s body in the proximity of the mobile home park where the girl vanished over the weekend. Her family has been notified.
A team from the FBI recovered 6-year-old’s Jenise Paulette Wright’s body with the help of cadaver dogs. They discovered the corpse at around 11:30 A.M. on Thursday.
Authorities are now focusing on a criminal investigation of the death, starting with an autopsy by a forensic pathologist and an examination and mapping of the wooded spot where the girl’s body was found. However formal identification of the body was expected Friday, according to Kitsap County sheriff’s Deputy Scott Wilson.
“This is going to be a criminal investigation, there’s no doubt about that,” Wilson said Thursday. Authorities are currently trying to track down anyone responsible, and they’re “not ruling out anything,” he explained.
Jenise was last seen when she went to bed Saturday night. Her parents waited the next day before calling the police because they claim the girl had wandered around the Steele Creek Mobile Home Park on her own before. Moreover there were no signs of forced entry at the girl’s home and no indication that she was taken from her room.
“There has been a lot tears and a lot of pain,” said Chris Byron, bishop for the Brownsville Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. “But they are OK, and they are dealing with it the best they know how. (…) I don’t think there is any way to take in an event like this in a matter of hours, days, weeks, or months,” Byron said.
Jenise was the youngest of four children living with the couple. The middle two children were taken this week from the home by state Child Protective Services because Jenise was reported missing. The older one was no longer living with the family.
One intriguing fact revolving around this case is that Jenise’s father, James Wright, was charged more than a decade ago with molesting two girls, ages 8 and 15. He pleaded guilty in Whatcom County Superior Court in December 2001, but eventually the charges had been dropped. It is not known why. The police have been focused on finding the girl, before questioning her father’s morality.
Supportive neighbors placed flowers and cards at the entrance of the mobile home park Thursday night, including signs that read “Bring Jenise Home!”