published Saturday, August 9th, 2014

Official: Teen arrested in Washington girl's death

Karole Johnson places balloons of princesses and flowers at the entrance sign to the Steele Creek Mobile Home Park in Bremerton, Wash., in this Aug. 7, 2014, file photo.
Karole Johnson places balloons of princesses and flowers at the entrance sign to the Steele Creek Mobile Home Park in Bremerton, Wash., in this Aug. 7, 2014, file photo.
Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

BREMERTON, Wash. — A 17-year-old was arrested Saturday in the death and sexual assault of a 6-year-old girl whose body was found near the Washington state mobile home park she vanished from last weekend, authorities said.

The boy was arrested without incident by deputies and FBI agents at his home in the same Bremerton-area mobile home park, Kitsap County sheriff's Detective Earl Smith said at a news conference.

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.

Smith said Saturday that the boy was being interviewed and will be booked with second-degree murder, manslaughter and rape in the girl's death.

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.

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