KEY POINTS

  • Breasia Terrell went missing July 10 of last year after spending the night with her half-brother

  • She was at the apartment of his father, Henry Earl Dinkins, in Davenport at the time

  •  Her disappearance triggered an Amber Alert and a large search effort

The search for a 10-year-old Iowa girl who went missing in July 2020 has ended after authorities found her remains. 

Davenport Police Chief Paul Sikorski, at a press conference Wednesday, confirmed the death of Breasia Terrell. Her remains were found on March 22 in a rural area near DeWitt by two fishermen.

"An autopsy on the remains was conducted by the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation and we have received confirmation that the remains are those of Breasia Terrell," Sikorski said, adding that: "This news is heartbreaking... To both Breasia's family and our Davenport community."

Terrell went missing on July 10 last year after spending the night with her half-brother at the boy's father's apartment in Davenport. Her disappearance triggered an Amber Alert and a large search effort.

"Bree texted me and said, 'Goodnight, Mama, I love you,'" Tarrell's mother, Aishia Lankford, told NBC's Dateline at the time. "And that's the last time I heard from her."

The next morning the boy's father, Henry Earl Dinkins, called Lankford to say that he woke up and found Tarrell was gone. After a missing report was filed, police searched the Dinkins' home. The 47-year-old was arrested and charged with second-offense sex offender registration violation and a probation violation, according to the criminal complaint filed in Scott County District Court. In December 2020, a judge ruled that Dinkins, who was convicted of an unrelated sex crime in 1990, remain in jail.

Sikorski told reporters Wednesday that no possible criminal charges were filed in connection with the girl's death and no suspects were named. Dinkins remains in jail.

"This investigation continues to be a joint investigation by the Davenport Police Department, the Division of Criminal Investigations from the Iowa Department of Public Safety and our partners at the FBI," Sikorski said at the press conference. "I can assure our community that investigators are working diligently to bring justice on Breasia’s behalf. Again, they have been nonstop for the last nine months. I want to assure our community that when we are able to share details on this investigation we will."

Officials with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children shared a statement from Tarrell's mother:

"Words cannot describe the heartache and emptiness that we feel now that police have confirmed the remains located in DeWitt, Iowa are Breasia. Our love for Breasia has gotten us through the past nine months and will continue to see us through as we fight for justice. We want to thank the community, law enforcement, friends and family who have put in countless hours to help bring Bree home. We ask for privacy as we grieve the loss of our daughter, sister and friend. Our focus will now be on seeking answers to what happened on the night she was last seen."

Crime scene Representational image Photo: AFP / Johannes EISELE