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Arizona authorities charge family friend with girl’s murder

A man who was questioned in the disappearance of a missing 8-year-old Arizona girl has been charged with first-degree murder and kidnapping.

Bullhead City authorities said Thursday they had arrested family friend Justin James Rector, 26, in connection with the disappearance of Isabella Grogan-Cannella. A body later identified as the girl’s was recovered from a shallow grave near the home Wednesday.

Rector had stayed with the family for a few days, Police Chief Brian Williamson said. The chief also said they were not ruling out “future arrests.”

The girl’s family reported her missing early Tuesday.
Investigators found no signs of a break-in or struggle at the house.

Rector was booked into Mohave County jail. He has been arrested several times since 2002, including drug possession. He was captured near a discount retailer, where police suspected him of shoplifting.

Officers searched the family’s home Thursday morning.

Williamson said another daughter, a 10-year-old, told law enforcers that she, Bella and Rector had been playing a game at the house Monday before the older girl left the room.

She said when she came back her sister and Rector were gone.

Bullhead City is on the Arizona-Nevada border, about 100 miles from Los Angeles.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.