SEATTLE — A former FBI profiler who worked on the abduction and murder of 12-year-old Zina Linnik in Tacoma in 2007 says FBI agents trying to solve the disappearance of 6-year-old Jenise Wright of Bremerton have to play catch-up.
Her family didn’t report her missing for a full day after she disappeared from her home last Saturday because they thought she was out playing.
“Well, of course, the first 24 hours are the most critical in any investigation like this where a child goes missing,” said David Gomez, who also worked at the FBI training facility at Quantico, Va.
Gomez says agents are probably doing what’s called a bifurcated investigation.
“You would have separate teams of investigators, one working the active investigation and developing a rapport with the family and helping them to work through this tragedy, and a separate team that’s going to look at the things that are maybe less comfortable, like the background of any family members or any prior events that would be affecting this investigation.”
Agents may ask Jenise’s mom and dad to write down everything they did Saturday and Sunday so they are locked into a story. They could also conduct behavioral analysis interviews to see how they react to questions.
“Are they direct? Do they look away? Are they looking up? Are they struggling for words beyond what is caused by emotion? Does their emotion appear to be feigned or is it true to life?” asked Gomez.
The main thing is to quickly clear them or any family members so the investigation can focus on other possible suspects. Both parents have taken polygraph exams but no results will be released. Kitsap County deputies have stressed the family is cooperating with investigators.
“If my children went missing, I would hope that the police would focus on me and my wife until we are excluded as suspects,” said Gomez.
If you have any information on what happened to Jenise Wright, call 1-800-CALL-FBI.