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August 7, 2014 at 10:57 AM

Investigators shift focus to finding killer of East Bremerton girl

Update at 4:47 p.m.:  Although the Kitsap County coroner isn’t expected to make positive identification until Friday, authorities left little doubt they believe the body found Thursday is that of Jenise Wright, subject of an intense search.

Searchers looking for the 6-year-old found the body Thursday morning in a wooded area near the Steele Creek Mobile Home Park, where Jenise lived with her family. Investigators are not sure whether the girl died there or may have been killed elsewhere and placed in the wooded area.

While cause of death won’t be known until an autopsy, scheduled for tomorrow, Kitsap County sheriff’s spokesman Scott Wilson said, “this is going to be a criminal investigation, there is no doubt about that.”

Now that the body has been located, Wilson said investigators are now focusing on identifying a suspect.

Frank Montoya Jr., special agent in charge for Seattle office of FBI, said law enforcement K-9s were “instrumental in finding Jenise’s body.”

Earlier Friday, the sheriff’s office released a statement indicating they believed the body was that of Jenise.

Jenise was last seen at about 10 p.m. Saturday, when she went to bed in her home in the mobile home park in unincorporated Kitsap County. Her parents told sheriff’s deputies they noticed she was gone on Sunday morning, but were not initially alarmed because Jenise often left the house to wander the neighborhood and find playmates, Wilson said.

When she failed to appear by Sunday night, her parents began going door-to-door looking for her, according to Wilson. Police were called about an hour and a half later.

Wilson said grief counseling is being arranged for Jenise’s family.

Update at 3:50 p.m.: The Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office says the body found today in East Bremerton appears to be that of Jenise Wright, 6.

Final confirmation of the identity of the body will be made by the coroner’s office, which will also determine cause and manner of her death.

The body was found in a forested area near the girl’s home.

Update at 12:15 p.m.: Searchers have found the body of a child near the home of a missing East Bremerton girl, investigators said Thursday afternoon.

It wasn’t immediately known if the body is that of Jenise Wright, who has been the subject of a search since her parents reported her missing on Sunday. The identity of the deceased child, as well as cause and manner of the death, will be determined by the Kitsap County Coroner’s Office.

Investigators made the announcement during a hastily called news conference. They said the body was found near Steele Creek Mobile Home Park, where Jenise lived with her family.

No arrests have been made.

Authorities plan to update the media during a briefing scheduled for 4:30 p.m.

Original post: Investigators plan to return to the Steele Creek Mobile Home Park today as they continue to search for 6-year-old Jenise Wright.

Speaking during a news briefing this morning, Kitsap County sheriff’s spokesman Scott Wilson said investigators will conduct additional canvassing at the 103-home East Bremerton park where the little girl lives. He said the search will be for a “specific purpose,” but he declined to disclose the reason.

The park was searched earlier as investigators seek clues to the disappearance of Jenise, who was last seen Saturday.

Wilson said extensive ground searches will also be conducted today.

“This is a very slow, methodical process,” he said.

Thus far, investigators have received hundreds of tips and have conducted more than 300 interviews, he said. Wilson urged residents to continue to phone in tips.

Jenise was last seen at about 10 p.m. Saturday, when she went to bed in her home in the mobile home park in unincorporated Kitsap County.

Her parents told sheriff’s deputies they noticed she was gone on Sunday morning, but were not initially alarmed because Jenise often left the house to wander the neighborhood and find playmates, Wilson said.

When she failed to appear by 8:30 p.m. Sunday, however, her parents began going door-to-door looking for her, according to Wilson. Police were called about an hour and a half later.

“She was, literally, a child of the park and everyone knew her. Because she was so friendly, she would have breakfast with some neighbors here and lunch with others over there,” Wilson said Wednesday.

Wilson reiterated this morning that Jenise’s parents have been “extremely cooperative” with investigators.

| More in The Blotter | Topics: East Bremerton, Jenise Wright, Kitsap County Sheriff's Office


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