Police have recovered the body of Jorelys Rivera, 7, from a dumpster at her family's apartment complex in Canton, Ga., according to an Associated Press report.
Investigators discovered Jorelys' remains, which they believe show signs of extreme violence and sexual assault, on Monday. Their initial reports suggest the girl was killed at her home and her body then disposed off in the dumpster.
The precise cause of death has not yet been identified and is pending an autopsy report.
I am convinced of that after having observed the body. A child's death is always a terrible thing, but a child who dies under extreme violence is the absolute worst thing, Vernon Keenan, director of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, told CNN, describing the crime as horrendous.
The girl was last seen with her teenage babysitter, at the playground of the River Ridge apartments, where she lived, on Friday. The child was reported missing at 5 p.m., after going back home to get some soda, police officials said.
Authorities launched exhaustive searches of areas around the apartment complex on Monday, before narrowing their efforts to a large garbage compacting bin. The body was then found at 1 p.m.
Rivera's mother, Joselin Rivera, spoke to the media shortly after her daughter's disappearance, pleading for her safe return. Although not a suspect, her other two children were taken into protective custody for an alleged lack of supervision.
Jorelys has been described as a sweet and friendly girl, whose death was a devastating blow to the family and community.
She was the type of little girl who likes her presence to be known. It's just so sad, said Maria Rodriguez, a neighbor and professional colleague of Joselin.
The authorities are continuing to talk to residents of the complex and will question registered sex offenders living nearby, in an attempt to identify the girl's killer.
An update on the investigation is expected on Tuesday morning.