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Suspect arrested in Jenise Wright killing

Jenise Wright suffered blunt-force trauma to the head, and evidence also reveals signs of strangulation.
Jenise Wright suffered blunt-force trauma to the head, and evidence also reveals signs of strangulation.
Photo by Mat Hayward/Getty Images

17-year-old Gabriel Gaeta was arrested in the Jenise Wright case, and prosecutors in Kitsap County are expected to charge him as an adult. Authorities said Gaeta sexually assaulted and murdered the 6-year-old Washington state girl.

Prosecutors identified the teen as Jenise’s killer on Monday when they filed court papers. They are charging him with first-degree murder and first-degree rape of a child, according to the Seattles Times.

Based on police document, Gaeta “nodded yes” when asked if he were the sole participant in the girl’s death.

Jenise Wright suffered blunt-force trauma to the head, and evidence further reveals signs of strangulation. Authorities explained that state crime lab linked Gaeta’s DNA to DNA on blood-stained clothes near Jenise’s body.

Her body was discovered in muddy water Thursday after disappearing Aug. 2.

After hearing the allegations from the prosecutors, a judge “found probable cause to hold Gaeta at a court hearing Monday afternoon.” The judge also set his bail at $1 million.

James Wright, Jenise’s father, said the suspect was a friend of the family. "We were friends. We fed him. He split wood with me at my house. I was trying to teach him to be responsible to his community — even when we leave home, we are responsible as men."

Reader, what would cause a 17-year-old to allegedly attack his 6-year-old neighbor? He spent time in her house. Plus, the Wrights were apparently kind to him, but look how Gaeta chose to repay this family.

He treated Jenise like an insignificant object, violently attacking her, quickly ending her life.

If he is found guilty, Gaeta will most likely spend the rest of his life in prison.

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