Police Arrest Suspect After Three-Year-Old Girl Disappears From Front Yard (WIDK)
(John Stevens & Katie Silver, DAILY MAIL) - Authorities in southeast Missouri said a suspect was in custody today in connection with the disappearance of a toddler last seen riding her bicycle in front of her home last weekend.
The unidentified suspect was from the local area but unrelated to the family of 3-year-old Breeann Rodriguez of Senath, Mo., said Dunklin County Sheriff Bob Holder and Senath Police Chief Omar Karnes in a statement.
County and state authorities are searching for the girl’s body and bicycle in an undisclosed area of the county, according to the statement.
The man, whose name was not yet being released, was being held at the Dunklin County Justice Center, pending formal charges.
The Dunklin County prosecutor’s office said it would release more information after the suspect is charged.
The small town of Senath is about 90 miles north of Memphis, Tennessee.
The arrest comes after the girl’s parents Edgar Rodriguez revealed that he and his wife Claudia Ramos failed lie detector tests taken as part of the search.
Speaking as police revealed they had found training wheels believed to from the bicycle Breeann was last seen riding outside her Missouri house on Saturday, Rodriguez said he did not know why they had not passed the tests.
‘I don’t know, honestly, honestly. When my wife went in there first to do the polygraph and she failed it, I mean, of course as a father when someone tells you they failed a polygraph, it automatically raises doubt,’ he told Nancy Grace on HLN.
‘I don’t know. To be completely honest with you, I don’t believe we really did fail it. It may be some kind of tool they use to squeeze every bit of information out of us…I don’t really know. But they said we did fail it.’
Police said yesterday that they had found two training wheels similar to those on the pink bike ridden by Breeann before she went missing.
Chief Omar Karnes said the training wheels are ‘items of interest’. The bike itself has not been found.
The wheels were found in a wooded lot about 2.5 miles southeast of Senath.
The FBI said that Rodriguez believes they were from his daughter’s bike because of the way he had adjusted the for his daughters height.
‘I one hundred per cent know [the wheels came from Breeann’s bike],’ Rodriguez told HLN. ‘[There isn’t] even a hint of a doubt.’
Breeann Rodriguez was left alone for just moments while the five-year-old boy went inside to get a drink on Saturday at around 12pm.
When he returned, she was gone, sparking a frantic search of the area.
Her parents Claudia Ramos and Edgar Rodriguez have made a desperate appeal for her safe return.
‘I just want to hold her and tell her she’s my princess,’ Ms Ramos said.
‘My daughter never hurt anybody- anything that would help us get to her would mean the world to us,’ her father told KFVS.
‘She’s friendly. She’d go with anybody. I really do appreciate everybody that’s helping,’ he said. ‘I just want my little girl back.’
Both the police and the FBI are working to find her. They have put forward a joint reward of $45,000.
‘For the FBI, there’s a presumption for us that there’s been an abduction as far as how we go about the investigation,’ said Special Agent in Charge, Dennis Baker. ‘
We don’t have evidence of that but we want to get out in front of the case.’
‘We’re working 24 hours a day until we find her,’ said Matt Brummund, Acting Assistant Special FBI Agent with the St. Louis Division.
Police are scouring farmland, going door-to-door and using a Highway Patrol in their search. But there is not much to go on.
‘To me the worst part is there’s no trail,’ said Chief of Police, Omar Karnes.
‘It’s hard to believe no one saw anything, but so far no one’s come forward.’
Senath, a small town, two hours north of Memphis is not considered dangerous.
As neighbor Estelle Floyd said: ‘I would think this is one of the safest place there was because everyone knows everybody on this street nearly’
‘Senath is about the safest place in the world.’
The little girl is Hispanic and is described as 34 inches tall and weighs around 30lbs with black hair and brown eyes.
She was wearing a pink top with pink and purple pants and was riding a small bike with training wheels when she vanished.
Police say neighbors did not see anyone suspicious.
Karnes said the girl lives on a dead-end street and that none of her neighbors saw any suspicious vehicles.
‘She was there [then] she was gone,’ Karnes said. ‘There is nothing. No trace. We don’t have any trail.’
Police questioned a person of interest Saturday, but that person has been ruled out as a suspect, Karnes said.
‘We’re working 24 hours a day until we find her,’ FBI agent Matt Brummund told KFVS-TV.