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Famiyl Friend Arrested in 8-Year-Old's Disappearance

 
Famiyl Friend Arrested in 8-Year-Old's Disappearance

(Fox 10) BULLHEAD CITY, Ariz. - Bella's body was found in a shallow grave in a wash less than a mile away from her home in Bullhead City.

Bullhead City Police say the suspect walked to Walmart, and they caught him on surveillance camera stealing clothes to change out of the ones used when he allegedly killed Bella.

"The man believed to be responsible for the death of Bella is in custody," said Chief Brian Williamson.

Bullhead City's Police Chief made the announcement Thursday afternoon. 26-year-old Justin Rector is behind bars; police say he kidnapped and killed 8-year-old Isabella Rogan-Canella.

"My heart goes out to Bella, her family, and the entire community," he said.

Court paperwork details what happened on Monday night just before Bella went missing. Police say her mom left Bella at home with her 10-year-old sister and Rector, who was a family friend. All were playing hide and seek. Bella's older sister said she went to the bathroom and when she came out Bella and Rector were gone. Hours later surveillance video showed Rector walking into Walmart.

"He'd been to Walmart and police found Rectors old clothes which he attempted to hide. He was arrested for shoplifting Tuesday night," said Williamson.

On Wednesday, investigators found Bella's body. Police say unique shoe prints matching Rectors were also found at the crime scene. So far investigators haven't released a motive or Bella's cause of death. Bella was found wearing a shirt but no shorts or underpants.

"It didn't go the way we all wanted it to; we set out to find Bella alive and bring her home. But we have completed the mission of bringing someone to justice for Bella's death," he said.

Rector is currently being held without bond in a Mohave County jail charged with kidnapping and first-degree murder. 

Bullhead City Police were called around 1:30 a.m. Tuesday when her parents reported the little girl missing from the home. 

Police Lt. Jerry Duke said Wednesday that there was no sign of a break-in. 

Over 100 law enforcement officers from local, state, and federal agencies along with trained volunteers and Gilbert Fire and Rescue Department personnel were looking for the little girl on Wednesday when a body was found near Chaparral and Newberry Drive.

On Wednesday night, Bullhead City residents reacted to the news of a body being found. "All I can say about Bella is she was beautiful, and sweet and full of life. The SOB that did this needs to get what he deserves, or she, or them, she was a beautiful little girl," said Rhonda Richardson. 

Neighbors are talking, but her family is not. Two police officers were parked outside of her home on Wednesday. 

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