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The latest developments in the case of Jenise Wright:

  • Kitsap County coroner has positively identified the child's body found in Bremerton as six-year-old Jenise Wright.
  • An autopsy has determined the manner of death as homicide.
  • Law enforcement are asking people living in the area to recall if they saw anyone wearing muddy clothes recently. Those residents are asked to call the FBI tipline at 1-800-CALL-FBI or 911.

SEATTLE - An autopsy has confirmed a body found in the woods near where a Washington girl went missing was that of 6-year-old Jenise Wright, authorities said Friday

The coroner also ruled the death a homicide, said Earl Smith, incident commander for the Kitsap County Sheriff's office. No exact cause of death was immediately released.

Sheriff's office spokesman Scott Wilson said earlier Friday that the wooded area where an FBI team found the body contained thick brush and likely was muddy. He said the person responsible for the girl's disappearance likely would have been covered in mud.

Deputy Scott Wilson said searchers are re-canvassing the area where the body was found in search of more clues.

We're going to be at this. We've been at this since Monday. We're going to continue at this all day, all night, all weekend. We're not giving up, said Wilson. Nobody's going home.

Wilson asked residents in the area to think about last weekend, when Jenise disappeared. If they saw someone or something that seemed out of place, they are asked to call the FBI tipline at 1-800-CALL-FBI. Kitsap County residents can also call 911.

Although a manner of death has not been determined, Wilson suggested that whoever might be responsible would have mud on them and that's who investigators want residents to remember.

The term covered in mud is one of those things that we would use lightly because we don t know how much mud they may have on, but it s a significant amount, said Wilson. They re going to have muddy footwear, whether it s shoes or boots. They ll have muddy pants and, quite likely, a muddy shirt.

Wilson added that if residents know someone who may have had muddy footwear they recently disposed of, that would be a reason to call investigators.

Wilson also said that residents of Steele Creek Mobile Home Park are being asked to voluntary submit to cheek swabs to collect DNA.

This is an elimination factor. If we ever come across DNA evidence that is going to be useful to us, then we compare that to DNA collected from persons who are residents in the general locale, and we compare that. They re set aside. We can focus on somebody else, said Wilson.

Wilson said he did not know if anyone had refused the DNAcollection.

Jenise's parents remain cooperative, Wilson added.

Jenise was last seen alive when she went to bed Saturday night. Her parents waited a day before calling for help because they say the girl had wandered around the Steele Creek Mobile Home Park on her own in the past. She was outgoing and unafraid to talk to anyone, family said.

Deputy Scott Wilson said in an interview Thursday that there were no signs of forced entry at the girl's home and no indication that she was taken from her room.

An FBI evidence research team has finished checking the area where the body was found, and a forensic mapping team from the Washington State Patrol's criminal investigation division planned to map the spot, Wilson said Thursday evening.

The girl's parents are cooperating with authorities, he said.

After the search began, state child welfare workers removed two other children, an 8-year-old boy and 12-year-old girl, from the home.

Jenise Wright's father, James Wright, was charged more than a decade ago with molesting two girls, ages 8 and 15, court records show.

He eventually pleaded guilty in Whatcom County Superior Court in December 2001 to a misdemeanor assault charge related to the older girl. It was not immediately clear why the molestation charges were dropped. Prosecutors there did not return calls.

A judge in Whatcom County Superior Court sentenced Wright to a year in jail but suspended the entire jail term on the condition that he follow certain conditions, including paying fees.

Wilson has said that authorities were aware of the past charge against the father, but that officers were focused on finding the girl.

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