After missing five-year-old Ja’Naya Thompson was sexually assaulted, possibly by two men, and hanged with a pair of socks in an abandoned trailer in Gulfport, Miss. on July 16, her alleged abductor, Alberto Julio Garcia, 29, helped her family search for her, reports WLOX.com.
Julian Gray, 31, may also face charges in Ja’Naya’s murder.
“We found Janaya Thompson with her back was against the west wall,” said Gulfport Police Detective Samuel Jewell. “She was hung with what we know now as two pairs of socks and that was attached to a metal bar in a small window attached to above the tub. She was suspended.”
Ja’Naya was last seen by her mother playing on the patio outside of their apartment’s sliding glass door. Garcia and Gray both lived in the same apartment complex.
Ja’Naya’s body was found in a mobile home about 50 yards away, reports the Sun Herald.
“This was the most brutal killing I’ve seen in my 35 years as a prosecutor,” said Herman Cox, Harrison County prosecuting attorney.
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“Alberto Garcia started telling detectives, ‘Hey, my fingerprints might be in that trailer where the little girl was found,’” Jewell said.
Jewell testified Garcia told police he went in the trailer days before the murder and took several items. At that point during the questioning, Jewell said Garcia was read his Miranda rights and was arrested for burglary. But Jewell said Garcia continued talking to investigators.
Jewell said Garcia told investigators he was at his apartment playing video games the night Janaya was murdered and he may have blacked out. He said he smelled feces on himself and does not know what happened and went and took a shower. After Garcia told detectives that story, Detective Jewell said Garcia began asking investigators questions.
“He asked about the evidence they had and asked did it point to him being responsible for Janaya’s death,” Jewell said.
After asking those questions, Jewell said Garcia asked for an attorney and investigators stopped asking Garcia questions.
Five days later, Jewell said he received a handwritten note from the jail written by Garcia saying he wanted to talk. Jewell said Garcia told him he was worried about seeing his mother and about the burglary charge against him. Jewell said he read Garcia his Miranda rights again and Garcia kept talking. This time Jewell said Garcia’s story changed.
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Garcia also stated that he may or may not have placed his fingers inside of the girl, but he couldn’t remember that as well.
Gray, who is being held on unrelated sexual assault charges, may still face charges in Ja’Naya’s murder, but, to date, tests do not confirm Garcia’s version of events.
“We received a preliminary DNA test from the anal swab taken from Janaya Thompson’s autopsy,” Jewell said. “The result is that Gray’s DNA was not present, but Garcia’s DNA was present.
“In my 35 years of [practicing] law,” Cox said, “I’ve never seen a more brutal and senseless killing. This defendant is just pure evil and the death penalty is justified in this case. I think the only proper penalty in a case like this would be the death sentence, but that’s up to a jury, of course, to decide.”
Ja’Naya Thompson was about to begin kindergarten.