Family likely knew 6-year-old Jenise Wright's killer

Family likely knew 6-year-old Jenise Wright's killer
Kitsap County authorities have identified and arrested a suspect in the death of 6-year-old Jenise Wright.

BREMERTON, Wash. — During a Saturday afternoon news conference authorities said the suspect was a 17-year-old boy who lived in the same mobile home park where Jenise lived.

The teen was arrested at his home at 2:50 p.m. Saturday.

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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.

Police said they will not release the name of the teen.

KIRO 7 asked family spokesperson Bishop Chris Byron whether Jenise Wright knew her alleged killer.

"I mean, yeah, there's certainly that possibility,” said Byron.

Byron told KIRO 7 that the family only knows of two 17-year-old males who live in the park and who fit the description given by police.

"They know both of the kids, that they can think of, that live around the corner, and one of them is a friend of the family,” said Byron.

Kitsap County Sheriff's Detective Earl Smith said Sunday that the boy was being interviewed and will be booked with second-degree murder, first-degree manslaughter and first-degree rape of a child.

The FBI's Specialty Search Dogs Unit discovered the body of Jenise Wright on Thursday amid thick brush in a wooded area near the trailer park. Volunteer canine search teams had previously reported that their dogs had showed interest in a particular area.

Jenise was last seen when she went to bed on the night of Aug. 2. Her parents waited a day before calling for help because they say the girl had wandered around the Steele Creek Mobile Home Park on her own in the past.

Officials have said that there were no signs of forced entry at Jenise's home and no indication she was taken from her room.

Hundreds of people, including officers from 15 law enforcement agencies, searched for Jenise, went door to door at the mobile home park on the west side of Puget Sound, across from Seattle. They also pulled surveillance video from nearby businesses and checked in with sex offenders in the county.

A memorial for Jenise Wright will be held next Aug. 16 at 1 p.m. at 9256 Nelson Road NW, at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.