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Missing girl: Body found of Arizona girl as family friend booked for her death

The body of the missing eight-year-old Arizona girl has been found in a shallow grave not far from her home. The police have arrested a 26-year-old man who had been living at her family’s home, according to Los Angeles Times on Sept. 4.

Missing girl's body found, man living in the family's house arrested for murder.
Getty images/ file archive

The body of Isabella “Bella” Grogan-Cannella was discovered by people searching for her in Bullhead City, where she lived with her family. Bullhead City municipal has about 40,000 residents, and it is located on the Arizona - Nevada border.

The body was taken to the medical examiner’s office for an autopsy to determine the cause of death of this child. The Bullhead City Chief of Police, Brian Williamson, did say that the police are very hard at work searching for the person responsible for this crime when the body was first discovered around noon on Wednesday, reports Fox News today. By Thursday morning they had made an arrest.

Bella was reported missing by her mother two days ago. She was last seen in bed about midnight and when the family woke up the next morning, she was nowhere to be found.

It was not like Bella to leave the house without permission of an adult and she was not a child that would run away, said her mother. The police did not find any sign of a break-in at the home or any clues to go on as to her whereabouts at the time.

A massive search ensued with police and volunteers scouring the area for any signs of Bella. Searchers came upon her body around noon on Wednesday.

Police have arrested Justin James Rector, a “family friend,” who had been staying with Bella’s family at their home, report police. He was arrested on Thursday morning and charged with murder and kidnapping of the little girl.

Police have not released any information on how Bella died as of this time. They did say the body was found in a shallow grave. Bella’s 10-year-old sister said that she saw Bella with Rector at about 11:30 p.m. Monday. The sister used the bathroom and when she came out both Bella and Rector were gone.

The sister did not hear any loud noises that would indicate a struggle and there were no signs of forced entry or a struggle in the family home. For this reason the police did not issue an Amber Alert for the child.

Williamson said that Rector, along with several other people, had been living at the family’s home for the past several days. They were “staying or living” at the house, he said. Rector had been arrested for shoplifting on Tuesday morning.

The Federal investigators helping with this case found footprints at the scene where Bella’s body was found. The footprints matched Rector. He was arrested this morning and thrown in jail. Police would not rule out further charges on Rector or additional arrests in this crime.

Rector was known to the Bullhead City Police, who had arrested him in the past on minor offenses.