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Originally published August 10, 2014 at 8:32 PM | Page modified August 11, 2014 at 12:11 AM

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Case turns to prosecutors in death of Jenise Wright

Investigators were finishing their on-scene probe Sunday into the killing of 6-year-old Jenise Wright, a day after arresting a 17-year-old neighbor on investigation of rape and murder.


Seattle Times staff reporter

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Investigators were finishing their on-scene probe Sunday into the killing of 6-year-old Jenise Wright, a day after arresting a 17-year-old neighbor on investigation of rape and murder.

Kitsap County Sheriff’s detectives seized three vehicles from the teenage suspect’s home and completed final interviews of residents at the Steele Creek Mobile Home Park, the community where Jenise disappeared eight days ago.

The statements and evidence collected Sunday will help authorities in “trying to put together a composite of the suspect for painting a picture for the court,” Kitsap County Sheriff’s spokesman Scott Wilson said.

“We’re just wrapping everything up,” Wilson added Sunday. “There’s still a lot to do, but now the focus is just dotting all of our i’s and crossing all of our t’s and handing the case off to prosecutors.”

The teenager, who has not been named, was booked Saturday on investigation of second-degree murder, first-degree manslaughter and child rape, said Detective Lt. Earl Smith of the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office. Smith said the suspect was arrested shortly before 3 p.m., after forensic evidence linked the teenager to Jenise. The family was notified about an hour later.

“There’s a lot of grief,” Wilson said. He wasn’t sure if the suspect and Jenise knew each other, but he noted the community in and around the mobile-home park was small.

Authorities interviewed the suspect Saturday. The teenager was scheduled to make an initial appearance in Kitsap County District Court on Monday afternoon.

Part of the investigation has focused on the swift collection and testing of forensic evidence, and authorities have said everyone in the 103-unit community complied voluntarily with a request for DNA samples. Wilson confirmed Sunday the suspect was among those who provided DNA. The Washington State Patrol supported the investigation by staffing its crime lab 24 hours a day until the samples could be processed.

Authorities have said Jenise was last seen around bedtime Aug. 2. She was gone the following morning, but her parents were not immediately alarmed because she was allowed to wander around the mobile-home park where they lived. They became concerned when she did not show up that night, and called 911, the Sheriff’s Office said. Jenise’s body was foundnear the mobile-home park Thursday.

Lewis Kamb: lkamb@seattletimes.com or (206) 464-2932. Twitter @lewiskamb



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