Family, investigators work to find out how 11-year-old vanished - KAIT-Jonesboro, AR-News, weather, sports

Family, investigators work to find out how 11-year-old vanished and died

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She was described as charming and full of life. She was described as charming and full of life.
Jessica was found dead under this bridge crossing a floodway over a large ditch attached to Big Lake. Jessica was found dead under this bridge crossing a floodway over a large ditch attached to Big Lake.
Eric Williams cannot believe his beloved 11-year-old daughter is gone. Eric Williams cannot believe his beloved 11-year-old daughter is gone.
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GOSNELL, AR -

(WMC-TV) - Grieving family members spent a big chunk of Wednesday at the Mississippi County Sheriff's office helping investigators try to figure how 11-year-old Jessica Williams vanished and then turned up dead.

She was described as charming and full of life. Eric Williams cannot believe his beloved 11-year-old daughter is gone.

"She wanted to be a rancher. She loved horses. She loved animals," he said.

Jessica was found dead under a bridge crossing a floodway over a large ditch attached to Big Lake. The location is three miles from her home in rural Mississippi County near Gosnell, Arkansas.

Her father reported her missing Tuesday, he last saw her riding her bike on the front lawn. She wanted to visit a friend a few houses down from where she lived with her father.

"Took her bike with her," he said.

She also brought her puppy Rhyback. Williams became concerned when a neighbor saw his daughter's bike in a ditch not far from their trailer.

"I said something don't feel right, so I drove on down to Josh's house. I said, 'Have you seen her?' He ain't seen her," said Williams. "We started going door to door all the way down here."

Williams said he and the neighbors started looking for the sixth grader, riding four wheelers in the farm fields in a desperate search. It wasn't until 6:30 a.m. Wednesday that deputies and the Blytheville Rescue Squad found her body.

Jessica's father says that Rhyback was discovered alive under the bridge near where Jessica's body was found hours later. Williams says his daughter would never walk that far from their home.

"I believe someone picked her up. She knew not to go that far," he said.

Jessica's uncle Tim Southern also thinks someone kidnapped and killed his niece.

"You know, why would you want to take an 11-year-old and do this? I mean she's done nothing to you. She's just beginning life," he said. "She loved life itself. You know she loved her grandma, grandpas, her mom and dad, especially her sister, little cousins."

The Mississippi County Sheriff, Dale Cook, would not say if foul play is suspected. Cook declined to release specifics about the case, but the Arkansas State Police are helping out.

"If there's anyone that seen anything that happened yesterday afternoon, early yesterday – vehicles moving up and down county road 122 – we'd like to know that," said Cook. "It's important for the family to have closure ... And it's important to me and the Sheriff's department."

Williams' body is being sent to the Arkansas State Crime Lab to determine cause of death. The investigation is ongoing.

Copyright 2013 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.

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