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Posted: December 06, 2011

Autopsy: Girl was fatally stabbed, beaten

Jorelys Rivera, 7, of Canton has been missing since Friday afternoon.
Family photo
Jorelys Rivera, 7, of Canton has been missing since Friday afternoon.

By Veronica Waters

ATLANTA, Ga. None —

Jorelys Rivera was killed within hours after her disappearance from her Canton apartment complex, as police, family, friends and neighbors hoping for the best scoured the mile around her home, looking for her.

The autopsy results on the seven-year-old girl, released Tuesday morning, reveal that she was stabbed, sexually assaulted, and beaten. She died of blunt force trauma to the head and stab wounds, according to GBI Director Vernon Keenan.

He says she died within two hours of her abduction.

The focus of the murder investigation is now at the apartment complex where the second-grader lived, as investigators zero in on a vacant apartment at River Ridge, looking for the crime scene.

"Investigators feel very strongly that the killer of the child resides in the apartment complex," said Keenan Tuesday.

The little girl's body was pulled from a Dumpster located at the Canton apartment complex. Authorities hauled it across the street to pore carefully through the heavily compacted trash before finding the girl's body.

"It was not easily detected by the investigators," Keenan said Monday.

A $15,000 reward remains offered for information in the murder case.

Lt. Jay Baker with the Cherokee County Sheriff's Office says more than 60 local, state and federal investigators are currently working the case. Dozens of sex offenders are in the county, and several live in the apartment complex. Keenan says they have all been interviewed.

"We don't have any reason to believe any of them were involved," he said.

The Cherokee County School District sent a letter home Tuesday with all Canton Elementary School students to inform parents of Rivera's death.  The school also wanted to let parents know that counseling is available for grieving students.  The school also plans to display pink and green ribbons outside the school later this week in memory of Rivera.


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