CANTON, Ga. (AP) — A body found in a trash container is believed to be that of a 7-year-old girl who went missing last week from an apartment complex playground north of Atlanta, authorities said Monday.
GBI spokesman John Bankhead said Monday that "everything points to it being" 7-year-old Jorelys Rivera of Canton. Bankhead said officials were awaiting results of an autopsy to confirm the identity and a cause of death.
Bankhead told The Associated Press the body had been severely beaten and appeared to have been sexually assaulted. He said the girl's mother had been notified.
The child was last seen around 5 p.m. Friday at the River Ridge apartments in Canton, about 40 miles north of Atlanta, Canton police Detective Candy Worthy said. Authorities had said they believed the girl was abducted and brought in a specialized team of law officers trained to handle child abductions.
Searchers had been combing nearby apartment buildings and surrounding woods.
Officers were also checking with sex offenders in the area, an effort that will be ongoing and possibly broadened as the investigation continues, Bankhead said. Searchers also handed out fliers at area businesses with a description of the girl.
Authorities did not issue a Levi's Call — the state's version of an amber alert — because officers didn't have any information about the girl's abductor, which is a requirement for issuing such an alert.