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This undated photo shows Jenise Paulette Wright, 6, who is missing and was last seen Aug. 2, 2014, at her home in east Bremerton, Wash. / Kitsap Sheriff's Dept./AP

SEATTLE - A 17-year-old boy was arrested Saturday in the death of 6-year-old Jenise Wright, who went missing last week in Washington, authorities say.

The teenager, whose name was not released, will be charged with second degree murder, first degree manslaughter and rape, according to Kitsap County Sheriff's Lt. Earl Smith.

No exact cause of death was immediately released.

Smith said at a news conference Saturday afternoon that deputies and FBI agents arrested the boy at his home without incident. The teen lived in the same Bremerton-area mobile home park as the girl.

Sheriff's Office spokesman Scott Wilson said he wasn't sure if the suspect and Jenise knew each other.

The Washington state crime lab made positive confirmation of the suspect through forensic evidence. Earlier in the week, the sheriff's office had collected DNA cheek swabs from dozens of nearby residents.

The family of Jenise Wright was notified of the arrest about an hour after it took place. A growing memorial at the entrance to the neighborhood includes silver balloons, stuffed animals, lit candles and flowers.

"There's a lot of grief," Wilson told The Seattle Times.

Jenise's body was was discovered near Still Creek mobile home park, where her family last saw her a week ago when she went to bed. She was reported missing the next day, Sunday, launching a search with more than 100 people and 15 agencies, including the FBI.

Several hundred people turned out Friday night for a vigil to honor her.

The Kitsap Sun reports that he says the little girl's mother, Denise Wright, wanted to thank the search and law enforcement personnel who have worked on the case. The girl's father, James Wright, issued a statement through Byron, saying that he hopes "something positive can come from this tragedy."

"She was a happy child, a bright light for those around her," Smith said.

Wilson said searchers were re-canvassing the area where the body was found in search of more clues.

"We're going to be at this. We've been at this since Monday. We're going to continue at this all day, all night, all weekend. We're not giving up," said Wilson. "Nobody's going home."





The FBI's Specialty Search Dogs Unit discovered the body after volunteer canine search teams reported their dogs showed interest in a particular area.

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

Wright, was charged with first-degree child molestation in February 2000, accused of molesting an 8-year-old girl following a New Year's Eve celebration, according to court records. The girl told a detective and case worker that Wright inappropriately touched her.

More than a year later, in June 2001, the charges were amended to include third-degree child molestation after a 15-year-old girl who was babysitting the girl on that same New Year's Eve said that Wright touched her breasts and put his hands down her pants, according to court documents.

In December 2001, Wright pleaded guilty in Whatcom County Superior Court to a misdemeanor assault charge related to the older girl. It was not immediately clear why the molestation charges were dropped.

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. Prosecutors there did not return calls.

A judge in Whatcom County Superior Court sentenced Wright to a year in jail but suspended the entire jail term on the condition that he follow certain conditions, including paying fees.

Contributing: Associated Press



Copyright 2014 USATODAY.com

Read the original story: Arrest made in 6-year-old girl's slaying

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