by: KIRO 7 STAFF Updated:
BREMERTON, Wash. - Special agents and the FBI’s evidence research team found the body of missing Bremerton girl Jenise Wright about 11:30 a.m. Thursday in a forested area next to the Steele Creek Motor Home park where the girl lived.
“This is going to be a criminal investigation, there’s no doubt about that,” said Kitsap County Sheriff’s spokesman deputy Scott Wilson.
There are no suspects and no persons of interest yet in the case.
The Kitsap County coroner is expected to release the cause and manner of death Friday, but investigators say everything leads them to believe the 6-year-old was killed. The autopsy will help investigators focus on the search for the girl's killer.
“I have three children so it’s very hard to hear that,” said Jaqueline Zappy, who came by to volunteer to hand out flyers to locate Jenise. “We just went and hung up a bunch of posters all over east Bremerton. So I was hoping that they would find her safely. That’s really so sad.”
Alex Despres said he hopes the little girl’s death will help bring the community closer.
“Hopefully, this will open a few eyes and allow people to come together as a community,” said Despres, “So we watch out for each other.”
Video from Chopper 7 showed several officers gathered at the entrance to a wooded area near the mobile home park. Police cars were seen in a field and investigators dressed in white protective suits were spotted going in and out of the mobile home where Jenise and her family live Thursday afternoon.
The family's mobile home was previously searched by the Washington State Patrol and the FBI.
FBI investigators went door-to-door collecting DNA from residents as they searched for the girl's killer.
“They just put a thing in your mouth to get your saliva. I said sure, they've got to find who did this,” said neighbor Renee Greene.
Authorities are urging anyone to report any kind of activity in the mobile home park from last Friday through Sunday. The number to call is 1-800-CALL-FBI.
Neighbors started a memorial for Jenise at the entrance to the mobile home park. They left flowers, cards and Disney princess balloons. Carol Johnson lives in the area and came to pay her respects.
"I have grandchildren that age, “said Johnson, “I can’t imagine the pain the people who searched for this child are having. All the hope they had for four days thinking they would find some little child alive somewhere.”
Wright was last seen by her family Saturday night, Aug. 2. After the search was initiated, more than 200 officers from multiple agencies, including the FBI, searched for the 6-year-old around the clock.
Authorities said there was no Amber Alert in this case because there is no indication the girl was abducted. According to her parents, she was last seen in her family’s mobile home in East Bremerton.
Family members didn’t start looking for her until 8:30 p.m. Sunday, when they knocked on doors of the mobile home park. Police said Wednesday authorities searched all 103 homes and all the residents were cooperative.
Jenise’s family called 911 at 9:55 p.m. Sunday. A ground search included police dogs, and investigators also searched with a thermal imaging device.
KIRO 7 found Jenise's father, James Wright, was charged with molestation in 2000 for inappropriately touching a stepdaughter. He pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of assault.
Speaking to KIRO 7’s Graham Johnson on Monday, Aug. 4, Jenise’s father said he was upset about his daughter’s disappearance. He also called her “a spoiled little brat” and “the princess of the household” who “always gets her way most of the time.”
Both Jenise’s mother and father took lie-detector tests, but police would not publicly reveal the results.
Police also worked on contacting sex offenders in the area.