LUDINGTON, Mich. – A 12-year-old girl who disappeared from her home was found dead Monday, and police charged an ex-convict who is an acquaintance of the girl's family.
A cause of death was not released, but an autopsy was planned.
Mears was taken into custody over the weekend and was charged Monday with open murder and kidnapping. He was arraigned later Monday via video hookup from jail. If convicted, Mears could face life in prison.
Sabrina's mother, Amanda, left the girl and her 10-year-old brother at home overnight Friday and discovered Sabrina missing the following morning. Police said the boy didn't appear to know anything about his sister's disappearance.
"We don't know what possessed anybody to do what they did," said Sabrina's uncle, Chris Butler. "All we know is that we're sorry it did happen and we're just trying to be a family, just trying to keep it together, and it's hard."
The Rev. Tim Yankee, a family spokesman, said Sabrina, who had just finished sixth grade, enjoyed riding her bike, being outdoors and studying Bible verses.
"I do not remember a time ever seeing that little girl in a bad mood. She always had a smile on her face."
Mears' family issued a brief statement Monday, offering their condolences.
Mears was convicted of breaking and entering in 1993 in Mason County, and of armed robbery the next year in Oakland County, according to Magistrate Judge Paddy Baker. He was paroled in December.