Authorities found the remains of the 3-year-old Missouri girl Breeann Rodriguez, who went missing for more than a week, on Tuesday, near a series of floodway ditches about eight miles southeast of the girl's family's home in Senath.
A suspect from the girl's neighborhood Shawn Morgan, who was arrested on Saturday, has confessed that he had suffocated the child with a plastic bag before dumping her body in the ditch.
According to a joint statement sent Tuesday night from prosecutors and law enforcement officers in the area, a Missouri State Highway Patrol officer searching by boat found the missing girl's body and her parents were notified shortly after she was found.
"We appreciate all the help and support from the community in what has been a difficult time for all," Dunklin County Sheriff Bob Holder said in the statement, the AP reported. "We are saddened to confirm our fears but glad we have been able to recover her for her parents."
According to official reports Breeann was last seen Aug. 6 riding her pink bike with training wheels in front of her home. 43-year-old suspect Morgan told agent Tim Trowbridge of the Bootheel Drug Task Force that he found the child on a ladder in his backyard pool, grabbed her and carried her inside his home, where he suffocated her with a white plastic trash bag. Morgan told Trowbridge it "felt like it took an hour for the girl to die," according to an AP report. However the suspect didn't disclose the reason for murdering the child.
He carried the girl's body in the same plastic bag which he used to suffocate her and drove to the floodway and dumped the bag in the ditch. He went back home and dismantled her pink bike and threw it in the same area of the river system.
Morgan, who is jailed, has been charged of first-degree murder, armed criminal action and tampering with evidence and made a first court appearance Tuesday.