Police in Washington search for missing girl; dad with molestation record is cooperating

"Her parents have been very, very cooperative with us -- maybe not as much publicly as other parents," investigators say.

By Matt Bradwell

BREMERTON, Wash., Aug. 6 (UPI) -- Police in Washington searching for a missing 6-year-old say that despite her father's prior charges of molestation, he is not a suspect and has been cooperating with the investigation.

On Sunday morning, 6-year-old Jenise Paulette Wright's parents discovered she was missing from her Bremerton, Wash. home, where she was put to bed the night before.


Jenise's parents at first did not think anything of the disappearance as they reportedly frequently let their daughter wander a nearby park alone.

"I wouldn't let my six year run around by herself and she has been doing it since she was 3-years-old," neighbor Phyliss Tindall confirmed to NBC News.

When Jenise failed to return home after 24 hours, her parents contacted authorities.

The unusual timeline initially put scrutiny on the child's parents, who faced lie-detector tests, home searches and the public discovery of father James' troubled past -- but investigators say the family has been extremely open and just wants their daughter found.

In the course of the investigation, authorities and local media discovered James Wright was previously charged with first-degree child molestation for an incident with an 8-year-old girl on New Year's Eve 2000, and third-degree child molestation for fondling the breasts and genitals of a 15-year-old girl that same night. Wright plead guilty to misdemeanor assault of the teenager, and the other charges were dropped.


Of Wright's past, Wilson said it "has nothing to do with this investigation," and police are focused on locating a missing girl taken from her family, not by them.

"Her parents have been very, very cooperative with us -- maybe not as much publicly as other parents," Scott Wilson of the Kitsap County Sheriff's Office told KOMO.

"Some folks are media shy. But they are cooperating with us and we really appreciate that."

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