Inslee ending presidential bid, will seek 3rd term as governor

Parents of 6-year-old Jenise Wright say teen accused of killing her was family friend

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PORT ORCHARD, Wash. —  The parents of slain 6-year-old Jenise Wright attended the first court appearance Monday for murder suspect Gabriel Gaeta, who was ordered held on $1 million bail, and said afterward that Gaeta had been a family friend.

“How are they going to be able to trust anybody if I say it’s OK that they come through the door and we feed them like we did Gabe, they spend the night like we did Gabe?” asked Jenise’s father, Jim Wright,  alluding to their two other children.  “This is part of our culture.

“I thought I was doing the right thing,” Wright said. “How could I possibly have known that an ill will would happen to us?”

Gaeta, a 17-year-old wrestler and athlete at Olympic High School, is expected to be charged as an adult with first-degree murder and first-degree rape of a child in Kitsap County Superior Court.

He was ordered to undergo a competency evaluation and appear again in court next on Aug. 28; formal charges are not expected to be filed before then.

New details emerged in the tragic case of Jenise Wright.

Court documents said she died from blunt force trauma to the head, with possible strangulation.  She was then buried in a  mud bog.

In the documents, a Kitsap County sheriff's investigator siad that when Gaeta was asked in a police interview if he was the only one involved in Jenise's death, he "clearly nodded yes."

Wright's body was found Thursday submerged in a muddy bog adjacent to the mobile home park in East Bremerton where she lived. A small wood pallet was lying over the body, further concealing it in mud, deputies said.


The Kitsap County Coroner's Office said Jenise's body also showed evidence of sexual assault.

DNA evidence led investigators to obtain a warrant on Gaeta's home, where they said they found blood-stained clothing and a bloody towel in Gabriel's bedroom.

Gaeta's DNA was obtained earlier in the investigation.

Jenise was last seen Saturday night, Aug. 2, at her home. Jenise’s parents have said they would allow Jenise to walk through the neighborhood on her own and thought when they woke up Sunday morning that Jenise was already out playing. When she didn’t return home Sunday night (Aug. 3), the parents called police.

The girl’s disappearance struck the tight-knit community, and Kitsap County Sheriff’s Deputy Scott Wilson said hundreds of tips poured in since Sunday on the missing girl.

Jenise’s body was found in a wooded area near her mobile home park Thursday. Officials said it was an FBI team with specially trained dogs that found the remains.

On Aug. 9, Gaeta was taken to the Bremerton Police Department for a joint FBI and Kitsap County Sheriff's Office interview. He was allegedly quiet and reserved, speaking only on topics relating to school and wrestling, and avoiding questions about Wright. Deputies said he cried during the interview, saying "something similar to 'it wasn't right,'"  in response to questions about Jenise's death, court documents show.

When Gaeta allegedly nodded to being the only one involved in Jenise's death, the 17-year-old was arrested and taken to the Kitsap County Juvenile Detention Center. A search of his home allegedly uncovered clothes belonging to Wright, as well as muddy clothes of his own.

Gaeta appeared in court Monday at a probable cause hearing, his head covered in a jacket.

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    • Patrick

      I agree with Lori, Joe. Though I am a staunch conservative like I believe you are, this is hardly a matter to start slinging political mud over. This young girl was raped and murdered and it is now time to investigate, find the facts and bring the evil piece of trash to justice.

    • Joe

      Get your facts strait, Hillary pushes It takes a village to raise your kids. Everything in America is political. Democrats push that all the time, period.

  • Angry parent

    Really, dad? Part of your “culture” is to let a six year old girl wander around the neighborhood and not even know wher she was for nearly 24 hours?

    • zach

      I know a lot of people in the Native American community and unfortunately yes it is part of the culture to some. Young children often play in the street riding there bikes and running around…sometimes you see parents near by sometimes you don’t see any adults at all…It doesn’t happen by everyone of course but parenting is usually pretty relaxed for the most part within the Native community. That’s why they didn’t think anything was wrong by telling the media that. It was just normal to them.

      • Noel

        Yes Zach…. you’re right :( It’s not that parenting is relaxed, it’s that we’re all related in the tribal neighborhoods. Literally. My brother lives just a few houses away from mine and I have cousins on my left, right, and across the street. The kids all have known each other since birth, just as their parents and I have, so a sense of trust is established. Plus, its really easy to get in the habit of just saying ‘yes’ when the kids nag and nag to go see if their cousin is home. I have between 7 and 10 of the neighborhood kids in my house through the day. We lull ourselves into a sense of false security because we all know each other really, really well. When a ”problem” uncle (or aunt) exists, we all know about it. There are 12 people in my tribe I would NEVER let my kids anywhere near, yet, they have never been convicted of anything due to lack of evidence. But we all know what they have done to kids before. Luckily, none of them live near us. Anyways, I know that off the rez, I would NEVER let my kids leave the house without me. I used to live in Silverdale and Poulsbo and my son never left my sight. But here, where we know the intimate details of each others lives and grew up together, we get just a bit too comfortable. As one of my neighbors pointed out on our neighborhood FB page, we never know who might be ‘visiting’ the neighborhood. So we are being very careful to check with each other now when we have each others’ kids, standing on the porch and watching them go to whichever house or walking them if it’s a little further. I’m so sad for this little girl and her parents…I myself believe a kid should be free to play outside all day and that it does take a village to raise a child….I can’t tell you how mny times my neighbors have stepped in and corrected my children or vice verse, or how many times my kids have learned new things (like how to build a rock bed for steaming clams) or even life lessons from my neighbors. We all love each others children…if there is a monster in our midst, we’ve all been tricked. Hopefully this isn’t so…but just incase, we’re stepping up the parental helicopters. My ancestors would have beheaded Gabriel. I wish we could do that this day in age.

        • Don

          You are right Noel, we all get too comfortable sometimes, but like you, I would never let my kids out of my sight at that age. The world isn’t Mayberry, and we all know too much shit happens these days to even trust the neighbors when our backs are turned….

      • Don

        This isn’t a “native American” community, it is a trailer park where people of all races and ethnic backgrounds live, including some people I know personally. Don’t come in here talking racist bullshit about how the fuck some people are. You know absolutely nothing. Period.

      • mai

        Well that explains it. No wonder so many native Americans are so addicted to drugs and alcohol then. You let a kid run around unsupervised and things like this are potential to happen, I’d rather the girl be alive with a drug addiction than murdered. Why say, “oh it’s a culture, blah blah blah.” and put your kid at any risk? Yeah they’re totally to blame. I would never let my 6 year old run around because I am a good parent. Anyone with a brain would not do that. Also Steel Creek mobile home park is NOT on a reservation. But again, if these parents had been able to use their brains in the first place, the girl could still be alive. But no. Pretty stupid. It’s sick because my 9 year old cousin goes to the same school this girl would have been attending this year. She is in her yearbook. This is a sick thing.

    • Ren

      I saw in an interview the older siblings said “we don’t know their family ” as a defense for the backlash from the public and not contacting police for 24 hours. It doesn’t matter if we know you or not, if your child is not checking on you every half hour to an hour, than you check in on them! Besides they lived in a trailer park, which has criminals in it. How could they be so naive!? I live in a great neighborhood but I’m not going to sit here and think this neighborhood is perfect and there are no perverts lurking. They can be anywhere no matter where you live! No matter what your culture is, watch your kids!

  • Michael

    Really?? You’re blaming the Clinton’s for this?? Although it’s true this was an evil act and he will stand before God (as will the rest of us) some day, your comments are that of a whack job. Here is a news flash, we are not to judge. Read your bible!!

    • mai

      I can promise you. In this community, if he IS re-released, people will find out who he is. He will get what he has coming. In fact he is probably safer getting raped everyday in prison.

  • jeff

    If the prosecution has enough evidence they think will convict this guy in court they’ll offer a plea deal. When he gets to jail, he’ll have a chance to feel what it’s like to be raped. No doubt, the do gooder liberals will start asking why?

    • Sam

      I’m sure he will plea right up front. No plea! He could plea for 20 years with the possibility of parole and be out in his 30s with good time. NO! LWOP – Life Without Parole. Execution is not an option if he pleas. He needs to pay with his whole life, just as he so callously stole such a bright shining light of life from the world. A lifetime in prison is a long lived hell. Lock him away where he cannot rape and murder more innocents. He will probably kill himself at some point.

  • Brittany Rose

    First off…who tf lets a 6 year old walk around the neighborhood by themselves…?!? Idc if is was a small close knitt trailer complex. & secondly… What type of parents would be okay with their 6 year old child being gone in the morning, & just assume that they were outside playing. Kids that age dont need that level of independence to begin with. KEEP AN EYE ON YOUR KIDS, especially at that age.

    • Joe

      “W’ho tf lets a 6 year old walk around the neighborhood by themselves” those who have been told by their leaders that it takes a village to raise your kids. IE. Hillary Clinton and the Cancer the Clintons spread, fueled by the all the usual platitudes.

    • Joe

      I think your right, the Millennials voted for Obummer on the premise that if you got something I want, then I’m going to take it.

  • audrey miller

    letting ur 6 yr old play outside by themselves in this day and age is child endangerment…letting ur 6 yr old walk off without permission and staying gone the entire day..thats just plain stupid reguardless of who u are or live

  • candace

    I cant wrap my head around any parent leaving in the morning for work without knowing where your 6 yo is, and why the hell a 17 yo would be hanging out with a 6 yo and SPENDING THE NIGHT is beyond.

  • Shawn

    Just horrible wish it was still real America this case has the so called smoking gun he’s guilty so let’s have a public hanging so the next wacko thinking about doing this will think twice an eye for an eye

  • Debbie

    We don’t know the details but parents who don’t check in on their child probably don’t put them to bed at 10 pm, especially during the summer. That’s besides the point. It was a crummy day. What kid gets up that early to play when it’s cold outside? Where was the “village”? Didn’t anyone see or hear anything?? I’m sure there were warning signs from the killer. Like on his computer all day. I blame a society who accepts tekevision programming that is frequently about how people murder and whst they do. It’s on daily on several channels. Plus having access to the most hideous violent porn. I wouldn’t be surprised if they find he partook of these things. We killed her. A society that breeds criminals and then asks how it could happen. God help us all.

  • Chet

    It’s a shame what happen to that little girl. He should be put in jail and no chance for parole.God bless you little angel you are with the angels You are a beautiful angel.

  • Sam

    Due to the fact that the body was covered up with a pallet shows that he knew what he was doing so this “seeing if he’s fit to stand trial” is a load of crap. He knew what he was doing and he should spend most of, if not all, of his life in prison where he will get his.

  • Barbara Gagner

    What is sad is that a teenage boy befriended the family and then committed this horrific crime. Seems premeditated to me. I do not feel sorry for this boy but I am praying for the poor little victim. She knew him and probably did not consider him as a dangerous stranger. May God help all the innocent children.

  • jeff

    Who edited this story? A simple word like said, is not spelled siad. Can’t believe they let out like this especially when there’s spell check. There’s allot of questions that should be asked of the parents in this case as well.

  • jeff

    Correction to my reply, “Can’t believe they let out like this.” Should read I can’t believe they let it out like this especially when there’s spell check.

  • kris

    first of all my heart cries for you Janice (for what u have endured), little angel in heaven
    Why on earth would parents of a 6yo leave child to play outside without having someone with her and or checking in on a frequent and regular basis; common sense please
    i would have been cautious of the dad’s history , registered sex offenders or transients but to believe it was a family “friend” is so disturbing beyond words
    There had to be some warning signs from this accused boy
    I would like information of his parents–family dynamics ; something is “off” and hard to believe no one heard anything
    and did this boy have physical abuse or mental problems

    • mai

      I HAVE had physical abuse and I suffer from autism (although NOT a mental disorder -neurological, look it up). Not once have I ever thought about actually harming another person/animal. I’m so tired of people saying “Oh well that makes sense, he had “problems'” We all have fucking problems. This trash needs to be thrown in the garbage! What you do to others is a CHOICE YOU MAKE. Stop letting scum hide behind the fact that IT had the same kind of problems as anyone else. Not everyone who hurts others has mental problems or abuse in their history. And not everyone who has delt with these things are going to hurt others.

  • barbara

    Feeling so sad for her. My little girl plays in the front yard and she is five she’s not aloud to play with older kids and I must meet the parents first to see who they are before my child can play with them . she plays with the same kids everyday and even though she’s in the front yard or riding her bike back and forth with her friends I am always checkin on her ,all my windows are open so I can see her at all times. In these times we have to always be watching .. It only takes a min. Its our responsibility to make sure that whoever interacts with our children is safe

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