Authorities say a 17-year-old has been arrested in the death and sexual assault of 6-year-old Jenise Wright, whose body was found near the mobile home park she vanished from last weekend.
Kitsap County sheriff's Detective Earl Smith said at a news conference Saturday afternoon that deputies and FBI agents arrested the boy at his home without incident.
A 12-year old friend of Wright's told KING 5 News that she and other children now feel safe playing outside.
”I feel way better. I don’t have to lock myself in my room every night being afraid that he’s out there somewhere," she said. "He deserves to be arrested for doing what he did.”
The teen lived in the same Bremerton-area mobile home park as the girl. Smith said the boy would be booked on suspicion of second-degree murder, manslaughter and rape.
The state crime lab made positive confirmation of the suspect through forensic evidence.
“They don’t know who it is, so I’m hesitant to say, but there is a possibility that this was a family friend who would’ve been trusted," said family Spokesperson Chris Byron.
The sheriff's office said Friday that it was collecting DNA cheek swabs from dozens of residents who volunteered them in the mobile home park.
"We made a promise that we would bring justice to Jenise Wright and today we delivered on that promise," Smith said.
The suspect's name was not released because he is a minor.
“Did we know him? Did I see him in the hallway? Did I pass him? Did I talk to him? Is he even one of my friends? It’s just hard to imagine someone you go to school with and eat lunch with everyday turning out to be able to do something so horrible to a little girl,” said Isabella Luchini.
Luchini, 18, dropped flowers at the growing memorial near the Steel Creek mobile home park.
Police said they don't know if the suspect knew the girl's family but since the mobile home park is so small it is "likely."
The girl's body was found in the woods near the park. No exact cause of death has been released.
The family says a memorial will be held next Saturday at 1 p.m. at the Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints at 9256 Nelson Nelson Rd NW in Bremerton. The public is welcome.