COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — Colorado investigators have taken DNA samples to help identify the body of a young girl found in the crawl space of a vacant town house, and asked authorities nationwide to be on the lookout for a couple who had rented the home.
Renovators found the body May 14 at the home in Monument, north of Colorado Springs. Investigators say the body appears to be that of a girl between ages 7 and 10.
El Paso County sheriff's deputies won't say who gave the DNA samples or release the results. But they're asking for help finding Hanif Sims and Monique Lynch, both 29, who were the home's occupants until early 2009. Sims' daughter, Genesis, would have been 6 or 7 when the couple lived in Monument.
Authorities aren't officially calling the couple suspects, but they have questions about the status of their children and their time living in Colorado. Both are wanted on unrelated warrants out of New Jersey: Lynch for a probation violation and Sims for an alleged weapons violation, El Paso County sheriff's officials said.
Investigators say they were told two children lived with the couple at the home.
Andy Bales, who runs the Union Rescue Mission in Los Angeles, has said the couple lived at the shelter last year with an infant and a teenage boy but left in December after the mission helped them get an apartment.
Investigators said they have talked with friends, family and residents in homeless shelters in New Jersey and California to try to find the couple.
Jopetia Garretson, of Orange, N.J., told the Colorado Springs Gazette that she is Genesis' mother, and that El Paso County officials told her they would return the child's cremated remains for a memorial if the DNA matches.
Garretson, 30, told the newspaper Sims gained custody of Genesis when the child was 15 months old.
No one answered the door Thursday at Garretson's apartment in Orange, and there was no phone listing for her.
(This version CORRECTS that Garretson is from Orange, N.J., not Newark.)