17-Year-Old Accused Of Raping, Killing 6-Year-Old Neighbor Attended Her Vigil

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht

A 17-year-old boy charged with the rape and murder of his 6-year-old neighbor allegedly dumped her body in a muddy bog before attending her vigil.

Jenise Wright, 6, went missing from her mobile home in Bremerton, Washington, on Aug. 2. Her body was found in a 3- to 4-foot deep bog on a heavily wooded slope near the Creek Mobile Home Park on Aug. 7. She had been strangled and beaten to death. About 20 feet away from her remains was her clothing.

Police took a DNA swab from her neighbor Gabriel Gaeta, 17, on Saturday. The teen had reportedly been to Wright’s home frequently; he was a friend of her older siblings. He initially told his parents he was too distraught to speak with investigators.

Gaeta's DNA matched evidence on Wright’s bloody underwear and shorts and he was arrested, the Daily Mail reported.

When asked if he had killed the girl, Gaeta “clearly nodded yes,” court documents say.

Gaeta, who turns 18 in December, is expected to be charged as an adult with first-degree murder, felony murder and first-degree rape of a child.

A Kitsap Superior Court judge ordered Gaeta held on $1 million bail. The judge also granted an order that his face not be photographed until charges are formally filed against him.

The teen has no prior criminal record.

If convicted, he faces life in prison.

Sources: Seattle Times, Daily Mail

Photo Credit: Image screenshot/YouTube, Bettina Hansen/Seattle Times