UK & World News

  • 12 August 2014, 16:03

DNA 'Links Teen To Girl's Rape And Murder'

Authorities say they have found DNA linking a teenager accused of raping and killing a six-year-old girl and his victim.

Details of the case emerged as a judge set a $1m bail for 17-year-old Gabriel Gaeta.

He is the only suspect in the murder of Jenise Wright, the Washington state girl who was strangled and sexually assaulted.

Gaeta was friends with her family and a neighbour in the mobile-home park in Bremerton.

Court documents lay out grisly details into the death of Jenise, who was last seen when she went to bed August 2 at her family's home.

The girl's body was discovered on Thursday almost entirely submerged in a nearby muddy bog.

According to the New York Daily News, Gaeta went to her vigil before he was arrested.

Jenise's underwear and shorts were found about 15 to 20ft (4.5 to 6m) from where her body was found.

Authorities say forensic evidence analysed by the Washington state crime lab linked the clothing to the teen's DNA.

The sheriff's office collected DNA cheek swabs from Gaeta and dozens of other nearby residents during the investigation.

Detectives interviewed the teen at the weekend and authorities said he "clearly nodded yes" when they asked whether he was the only one involved, according to court documents.

"Certainly, as you can see from the probable cause statement, his interactions suggested that he knew that responsibility was rightfully focused on him," Kitsap County Prosecutor Russ Hauge said.

Authorities then searched his home and found evidence, including a blood- and mud-covered shirt and a bloody towel in Gaeta's bedroom.

At a court appearance on Monday, prosecutors demanded a mental-health evaluation for the teen.

The next court appearance is scheduled for August 28.

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