BREMERTON — The FBI issued fliers and dozens of law enforcement officers went door-to-door and searched the neighborhood Tuesday in the search for missing 6-year-old Jenise Wright, who was last seen by her parents in her home Saturday night.
“Jenise Wright is one of ours,” Kitsap County sheriff’s deputy Scott Wilson said at a news briefing. “She’s a daughter of East Bremerton. We want her back. The investigation at this point has been focused on nothing but her recovery.”
As the search continued, new details raised concerns about Jenise’s father, James Wright.
In 1999, Wright faced a child molestation charge in Whatcom County involving a then-8-year-old female family member, but the charge was dropped and he pleaded guilty to a fourth-degree assault charge.
Deputies referred questions about the father’s past to the prosecutor’s office in Whatcom County.
At the news briefing Tuesday afternoon, Wilson said that FBI and sheriff’s investigators conducted a “deep canvass search” of the mobile home park where Jenise lives, with officers going door to door. “We’re about halfway through that search of the park.”
He said they were also searching adjacent properties, trash Dumpsters and also talking to transients and registered sex offenders in the area.
Kitsap County Sheriff Steve Boyer said, “This is heart-wrenching … We’re going to do everything that we can to find her. I remain a true optimist. And we are going to hope for the very, very best.”
The girl was last seen Saturday night but her parents didn’t report her missing until late Sunday night.
Jenise’s parents said they’re used to allowing her to walk through the neighborhood on her own without supervision.
When she didn’t come home for dinner on Sunday, that’s when police were notified.
“My head’s just swimming, I don’t know what to think,” said Jenise’s father, Jim Wright. “She went to bed (Saturday night), she was asleep. Wake up, (and think) she’s probably out running and playing.”
The little girl was allowed to roam the Steele Creek neighborhood all by herself.
Child Protective Services pulled the two remaining children, ages 8 and 12, from the Wright home on Monday.
“Sheriff detectives developed enough probable cause that they felt that it would warrant the safety of the children to be removed from the house at this time but I can’t go into details for why,” said Wilson.
Search and rescue teams from across Western Washington are now part of the search, as well as FBI and specialists from their child abduction response team.
Currently, police are saying this disappearance is not an abduction. Wilson said it’s being handled as a missing person case with suspicious circumstances, mainly because she’s been gone so long without a sighting.
The Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office said both the girl’s father and mother took lie detector tests, but the results weren’t announced.
Jenise is described as being about 3 feet tall and 45 pounds with dark hair. Anyone with information on her whereabouts is asked to contact police or 1-800-Call-FBI.