Human remains found in rural Iowa have been identified as a 10-year-old girl who disappeared in July, police said.
Police in Davenport announced Wednesday that the remains discovered last week by fishermen belong to Breasia Terrell, who was reported missing on July 10 after staying at the apartment of her half-brother’s father, Henry Earl Dinkins — a convicted sex offender who is a person of interest in the case.
“We are deeply saddened to learn of the findings from DCI’s crime lab,” Davenport Police Chief Paul Sikorski said in a statement. “We grieve alongside Breasia’s family and the community.”
No charges had been filed as of Wednesday in the “heinous crime,” which Sikorski said he could not further detail to protect the integrity of the ongoing investigation.
“When we can share details with the community, we will,” Davenport said.
Dinkins, 48, was named as a person of interest by investigators four days after Breasia was reported missing. Investigators on Wednesday asked the public for information regarding his whereabouts from late July 9 through early July 10.
Police also released photos of several vehicles associated to Dinkins, including his primary vehicle, a 2007 maroon Chevy Impala.
Breasia’s mother, Aishia Lankford, had prayed daily for her daughter’s safe return, the Des Moines Register reported. The girl’s body was found by fishermen in Clinton County on March 22.
“Word cannot describe the heartache and emptiness that we feel,” Lankford told the newspaper in a statement. “Our love for Breasia has gotten us through the past nine months and will continue to see us through as we fight for justice.”
Dinkins, who convicted of sexually abusing a minor in 1990, remains in custody for sex offender registration violations unconnected to Breasia’s disappearance, the newspaper reported.
Dinkins allegedly failed to report his Davenport residence where Breasia went missing and two of his vehicles, which is required for registered sex offenders in the state, according to the report.
Dinkins has pleaded not guilty to the three violations and a trial has been set for May 10, court records show.
Lankford told NBC’s “Dateline” in July that she believed Breasia was being held against her will and that Dinkins knew what happened to her. Lankford said at the time she visited Dinkins while was in custody for the sex offender registration violation.
“He broke down after only a few minutes,” Lankford said. “I’ve known him for 11 years and I’ve never seen him show that kind of emotion. I know he knows something.”
Lankford told the Register that Breasia had never before stayed over at Dinkins’ apartment prior to her disappearance. The girl was allowed to spend the night because she was having fun with her half-brother, Lankford said.
Anyone with information about Dinkins or his vehicle should call Davenport police at (563) 326-6125.