0

Police say girl's killing 'very calculated'

Georgia Bureau of Investigation director Vernon Keenan speaks during a news conference in Canton, Ga., Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2011. Keenan confirmed that a child's body found Monday was as Jorelys Rivera who went missing last Friday. .(AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Georgia Bureau of Investigation director Vernon Keenan speaks during a news conference in Canton, Ga., Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2011. Keenan confirmed that a child's body found Monday was as Jorelys Rivera who went missing last Friday. .(AP Photo/John Bazemore)

CANTON, Ga. (AP) — Investigators believe a Georgia girl abducted from a residential playground was taken to a nearby vacant apartment, where she was sexually assaulted, stabbed and beaten to death before her body was placed in a trash bin, authorities said Tuesday.

Georgia Bureau of Investigation Director Vernon Keenan on Tuesday released autopsy results and new details in the killing of 7-year-old Jorelys Rivera of Canton.

Rivera was last seen Friday evening. The autopsy shows she died of blunt force trauma to the head about 60 to 90 minutes after she disappeared, Keenan said.

"This was a very calculated and planned crime," Keenan said. Police did not give a time of death.

Investigators strongly believe the killer either lives in the apartment complex or has regular access to it, Keenan said.

No suspects are in custody. Keenan said evidence collected from the child's body and the vacant apartment are being tested. Investigators hope to have preliminary DNA results later Tuesday.

Police said the girl was last seen around 5 p.m. Friday at the River Ridge apartments in Canton, about 40 miles north of Atlanta.

The girl was at an apartment complex playground with a teenage baby sitter. She had left the playground to return to her apartment to get drinks for her friends when she disappeared.

Keenan said investigators have received numerous tips from the public and said valuable evidence has come from residents at the apartment complex.

Several sex offenders living at the complex have been identified and interviewed, Keenan said. But he added, "We have no reason to believe, at this point, that sex offenders are involved."

About 65 local, state and federal investigators are working on the case and several hundred interviews have been conducted, authorities said.

Maria Rodriguez, a former resident of the apartment complex, said she works with Jorelys' mother at a nearby poultry plant.

"She was a very sweet girl," Rodriguez said Monday, crying as she held her own 4-year-old daughter. "She was the type of little girl who likes her presence to be known. It's just so sad."

Rodriguez said the girl's mother worked a graveyard shift. Police have since removed two other young children from the Rivera home over "concern about the supervision of Jorelys," said Lt. Jay Baker with the Cherokee County Sheriff's Department.

Baker said no charges were expected against the mother or the babysitter.

A prayer vigil was held late Monday at the playground, where people left flowers, balloons and stuffed animals at a makeshift memorial for Jorelys.

A $15,000 reward has been issued for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the girl's killer.

"We're following up on every single tip," Baker said.


Associated Press writer Dorie Turner contributed to this report.