The little girl who was found in a muddy ditch just days after she went missing was allegedly strangled to death by someone she knew — her 17-year-old neighbor. Sadly, the teen is also accused of raping the child. Awful.
Jenise Wright, 6, was a beautiful little girl who has been described as always having a smile on her face. She went missing on Aug. 2, and her lifeless body was found submerged in a muddy bog without her underwear or shorts. Now, her 17-year-old neighbor, Gabriel Gaeta, has been accused of her rape and murder and will be charged and tried as an adult. It has been reported that Jenise and Gabriel’s families were very close, and he often visited their home.
Teenager, 17, Accused Of Raping & Killing Neighbor’s Little Girl, 6
This is a truly troubling story.
On Aug. 2, little Jenise went missing from her home in Bremerton, Washington. Investigators revealed that there was no sign of trouble inside the home the night she went missing, and it did not look as if anyone had forced entry, reports Huffington Post. Sadly, the last time Jenise was seen was when she went to bed that night.
After hundreds of friends, family, and neighbors helped investigators search for Jenise for five days, her body was found submerged in a muddy bog and covered by a wooden pallet. Her underwear and shorts were found 15 ft away, reports the Daily Mail.
Investigators discovered DNA evidence that led them to Jenise’s neighbor, 17-year-old Gabriel. He was arrested after being accused of raping and killing the little girl, and a search of his bedroom uncovered a muddy t-shirt and a towel covered in blood.
Gabriel is being charged as an adult, and currently faces first-degree murder and first-degree rape of a child — both of which could land him behind bars for the rest of his life.
Gabriel Was A Close Family Friend Who Jenise Knew
Some of the most horrifying details of this story revolve around the fact that Gabriel frequently hung out at Jenise’s home because he and his family were close with the Wright’s.
Not only did Jenise know and, most likely, trust Gabriel, but it also explains why there was no forced entry or signs of disturbance into the Wright home.
Making matters even worse, while the search for Jenise was still ongoing and he was not a suspect, Gabriel’s car was stopped on the street so that a local news affiliate could interview his mother who was sitting in the passenger seat.
“It’s very sad it feels like 9/11. It’s very quiet and you don’t hear kids running around anymore. It’s sad,” Gabriel’s mother told the reporter through tears as he sat quietly behind her, unphased. You can watch the eerie interview at KIRO-TV.
Our thoughts go out to Jenise’s family and friends during this difficult time.
— Lauren Cox