Over 100 officers search for missing Bremerton girl

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by Associated Press and KING 5 News

KREM.com

Posted on August 6, 2014 at 5:36 AM

BREMERTON -- More than 100 officers from 10 law enforcement agencies are involved in the search for a 6-year-old girl, Jenise Wright, who disappeared from her home near Bremerton during the weekend, the Kitsap County sheriff's office said Tuesday.

They included agents from the FBI Child Abduction Rapid Deployment team.

"We are harnessing all this manpower and expertise because we are covering all the bases," Deputy Scott Wilson said. "We only get one chance to do this right the first time."

The FBI has set up a tipline to collect information. It’s 1-800-CALL-FBI.  Searchers are also using the hashtag #findjenise

Investigators don't know if Jenise wandered off or was the victim of an accident, abduction or homicide.

"We have to approach it as if it's a worst-case scenario and hope for the best," Wilson said.

Frank Montoya Jr., Seattle FBI special agent in charge, joined Kitsap County Sheriff Steve Boyer for a late afternoon news conference that emphasized partnership.

"This is all about finding Jenise," Montoya said. He stressed that agents would be working with other agencies on the case and "be able to look at all the pieces of information that could lead to Jenise's recovery."

For his part, Boyer said he remains "an eternal optimist."

"We're going to hope for the very, very best" outcome, he said.

In addition to FBI agents from around the country, the sheriff's office was being helped by members of the Washington State Patrol Missing and Exploited Children's Task Force and police and firefighters from local departments.

Their job Tuesday was searching all 103 homes and every outbuilding and vehicle in the Steele Creek Mobile Home Park, either with consent or a search warrant.

Investigators sealed off the park, allowing in only residents. They were also talking to transients and registered sex offenders in the neighborhood.

Searchers on the ground have covered the neighborhood and surrounding woods. Teams are waiting for leads, Wilson said.

"Anything is possible," he said. "Children do really surprising things. She could be almost anywhere."

Jenise was last seen Saturday night when she went to bed. Her family noticed her missing Sunday morning but didn't become worried and call for help until that night because she had left the home on previous occasions and wandered around the neighborhood.

The family felt it was relatively safe because the mobile home park is fenced, Wilson said.

They also want to look at any surveillance video taken by nearby businesses. Residents living inside the Steele Creek Mobile Home Park community must stop at a checkpoint before they can enter or leave their neighborhood. 

"It feels like I live on a base going through a gate, almost like you’re a suspect to a point, but not bad," said neighbor Kelli Harbin. "I understand why they’re doing it all."

Harbin and her other neighbors have either been questioned or are expecting to by the FBI. 

Court records show that Jenise's father, Jim Wright, was accused of molesting an 8-year-old relative and assaulting a 15-year-old babysitter after a night of drinking in January of 2000. Wright entered into a Deferred Prosecution Agreement and the molestation charge was dropped. He pleaded guilty to a gross misdemeanor assault. Tuesday the Sheriff's office said they would not comment on any past criminal history. Deputies said that Jenise's family has been cooperating with the investigation. 

JJenise's parents live in the home in a blended family. An 8-year-old boy and 12-year-old girl were the only other children in the home last weekend. A 16-year-old boy was out of town. Two others at the home are adults.

State child welfare workers removed the 8-year-old and 12-year-old from the home Monday.

Other residents in the park described Jenise as outgoing and unafraid to talk to anyone.

"She's really independent. She's tenacious," said the girl's father, James Wright, describing the neighborhood as safe and saying his daughter roamed the park.

Jenise is 3 feet tall, weighs 45 pounds and has black hair. She'll be a first-grader this school year. She shared a bedroom with her sister

 

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