December 05, 2011

Body of missing Georgia girl, 7, found

By Antoinette Campbell, CNN

December 5, 2011 

(CNN) -- Police have found the body of a 7-year-old Georgia girl who went missing more than two days ago, the state's chief law enforcement official said Monday.
Police believe Jorelys Rivera was abducted and killed at her apartment in Canton, about 40 miles north of Atlanta, said Georgia Bureau of Investigations director Vernon Keenan.
"A 7-year-old child was kidnapped, sexually assaulted and murdered," Keenan said.
The girl was last seen Friday near a playground at her apartment. Police initially thought she might have wandered off and began investigating it as a missing-person case. But after more than 48 hours of searching, police said they believed the girl was kidnapped.
Canton police, assisted by the FBI and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, expanded the search area Monday and began canvassing for sex offenders living nearby. They are now asking for help to find out who killed the little girl.

"We need help from the public," said Police Chief Jeff Lance. As of Monday afternoon, Keenan said, investigators were actively pursuing leads, but that police had no one in custody and no suspects.
Earlier Monday, as volunteers and police handed out fliers with information and a picture of the missing child, her mother spent the morning in court trying to regain custody of her other children, who were taken by the Department of Family and Children's Services for alleged lack of supervision.
Joselin Rivera had spoken with local media just hours after her young daughter went missing Friday, saying she just wanted her returned safely. "I want her to come home so bad," Rivera told a reporter with CNN affiliate WSB. "I pray to God that somebody has her and will let her go."

CNN's Holly Firfer contributed to this report.

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