Jenise Wright’s dad, James Wright, does look like a potential suspect in her disappearance. It doesn’t mean he is.

Here’s the basics of the case — she’s six years old and missing in Washington state — and here’s some info about how the search was widened, and now they’re going backwards to a more methodical approach. As all this is happening and she’s missing, it comes out that her father, James Wright (goes by Jim), had a molestation charge in 2000 for touching two girls inappropriately after a night of drinking. That doesn’t mean he had anything to do with the disappearance of his daughter; it just means he’s a potential suspect that needs to be cleared, which I’m sure the police are doing. (And now the FBI is involved.)

According to this report in The Seattle Times, the parents are being “very cooperative.” As for the previous indiscretions, here’s the official word from the authorities:

Deputy Scott Wilson said detectives are aware that the father of Jenise Wright was once accused of molesting an 8-year-old relative and assaulting a 15-year-old babysitter in 2000 in WhatcomCounty. James Wright entered into a deferred prosecution agreement and the molestation charge was dropped. He pleaded guilty to a gross misdemeanor assault.

Wilson said investigators do not believe James Wright’s previous record has any connection with the girl’s disappearance.

“That was in the past and has nothing to do with this,” Wilson said during a media briefing. “I can’t emphasize that enough.”

Wilson said investigators have not identified any persons of interest.

There is something awkward about this case — Jenise Wright is six years old. She went to bed Saturday and she wasn’t reported missing until she missed dinner on Sunday. What the heck was the entire family doing all of Sunday that they didn’t once check on the whereabouts of a six-year old? Seems a bit odd.

Here’s where Jenise Wright lived, at the Steele Creek Mobile Home Park:

There are 103 units in the park; it is fenced in. If you look at that map, though, it’s not very far from a port. Just generically speaking, those can be sketchier areas.

This seems like it could be a much younger version of the Maggie Daniels case or the April Millsap case — the former was solved (RIP), and it ended up being someone that lived 100 yards away (Sharman Odom). The latter case isn’t solved, although there are some new details in it. In both examples, it appears like a lead suspect (or the person ultimately caught) was someone that had observed the victim from afar. In this Jenise Wright case, it feels the same way if you look at the facts as have been presented to the public thus far.

Here’s a little bit more context on Jenise’s life at home — if you check that Seattle Times link above, you’ll also see an explanation for the time gap in the eyes of the family. They apparently had noticed that she was missing on Sunday morning, but … she had a rep (at six years old) of going out to find playmates, so they thought nothing of it. Still, not checking on her in the afternoon is a bit weird in my opinion — but all that said, I don’t necessarily think the family is involved. It seems like a neighbor / someone from the area / etc. more than anything.

Ted Bauer

One Comment

  1. Why did they wait 24 hrs to report little Jenise missing? It’s simple. Mom & Dad had to get their stories straight.

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