SEATTLE (Reuters) - The body of a child found on Thursday near a Washington state mobile home park appears to be that of a 6-year-old girl last seen Saturday evening and reported missing when she failed to turn up for dinner the following night, authorities said.
Jenise Wright had gone to bed on Saturday in her family home near Bremerton, on the Kitsap Peninsula across the Puget Sound from Seattle, and was not seen by family members the next day, according to the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office.
Her parents notified police after she missed Sunday dinner, telling the sheriff’s office that they had not initially been alarmed because she would often wander alone around the neighborhood, checking in every few hours.
After four days of searching led by local law enforcement, the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office said a child’s body had been found in the woods near the Wrights’ home on Thursday afternoon and “appears to be that of Jenise.”
The medical examiner will identify the body, said Kitsap County public communications manager Doug Bear.
No arrests have been made and authorities were planning a news conference later on Thursday, Bear said.
The FBI and dozens of volunteers were helping local officials look for Jenise, whose disappearance did not rise to the level of an Amber Alert because it was unclear whether she had been abducted or wandered away.
Wright has been living with her parents and six siblings. Two of the girl’s older siblings have been removed from the home after she went missing because authorities found it “prudent,” Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Scott Wilson said.
The parents are cooperating with the investigation and have taken lie-detector tests, Wilson said.
Court records in Washington state show Jenise’s father, James Wright, was accused of molesting two young family members in 2000 but the charges were reduced to assault.
Additional reporting and writing by Curtis Skinner in New York; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Mohammad Zargham