A candlelight vigil was held in Sacramento's McClatchy Park on Sunday night, according to Fox 40, to remember a 6-year-old girl, Jadianna Larsen, whose burned remains were believed to have been discovered in a rural area about 100 miles away.
“They would always be making videos," one neighbor told the crowd at the vigil about Jadianna and her mother, Tanecia Clark. "All the little faces she used to make. But she’s resting now, and she will be missed so much.”
Police had been searching frantically for Jadianna since she was reported missing on Thursday, but the case turned into a homicide investigation on Saturday after detectives announced they are nearly certain that a small burned body belonged to her.
The Sacramento County Sheriff's Department said the 25-year-old boyfriend of Jadianna Larsen's mother was arrested on a murder charge early Saturday and was being without bail in the girl's death. They identified the man, Juan Rivera, as Jadianna's caretaker and said that he was the one who reported her missing.
Sheriff's deputies, search and rescue teams and volunteers had been looking for the girl since then. Rivera told investigators before his arrest that he woke to find Jadianna missing from her apartment after he experienced a medical emergency that had caused him to lose consciousness.
The body that authorities think was Jadianna's was discovered 10 hours before her reported disappearance by volunteer firefighters putting out a vegetation fire on a Glenn County road about 1 ½ miles west of the interstate that runs north from Sacramento, Sheriff Richard Warren told The Sacramento Bee.
The Glenn County coroner determined the body belonged to a girl between 5 and 10 years old. Investigators in Sacramento County were notified, but they did not reveal on Saturday how they concluded it was Jadianna.
Authorities said they are not providing more details until the body undergoes identity confirmation and evidence tests at a county crime lab.
The sheriff's department said earlier that Jadianna had not been at school all week but did not disclose if her absence was suspicious or had an explanation.
Jadianna and her mother lived in a supportive housing facility for disabled homeless adults.
“She lived amongst people who had all kind of problems, mental health addiction, depression. And she brightened all of our lives,” another neighbor said at the vigil, which family members did not attent, according to Fox 40.
“Jadianna’s mom wanted to move from there, we asked them to move her to a family complex someplace with kids, and they always gave her a reason why they couldn’t … I feel like the system failed her.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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