Kamaire Wash has been found dead this week, and now police are saying that the missing 7-year-old has been murdered.
There had been a brief search for the missing girl in East Point, Georgia, this week after she had been reported missing, but police are saying a body pulled from Allatoona Lake on Wednesday belongs to the missing girl. Authorities have also said on Thursday that the case is now an open homicide investigation, 11 Alive reports.
Police had initially received a call early Thursday morning, reporting Wash missing, with the caller saying she disappeared sometime during the night from her family’s apartment. But the investigation quickly revealed inconsistencies in the story given by the girl’s father, and after interviews with family members, police said they began treating Wash’s disappearance as an active homicide investigation.
That led to the arrest of Kamaire Wash’s father and his live-in girlfriend, East Point Police Captain Cliff Chandler has told 11 Alive. The East Point Police Department said charges against the pair are pending, though police have not yet said what those charges could be. The couple is currently being held in the East Point Police Department jail, and police have not yet named the pair.
The accused couple has three other children, including 18-month-old twins and a 4-year-old girl. The children are staying with relatives, police said.
Police said that in the wake of Kamaire Wash’s disappearance, the couple’s story immediately didn’t add up. They claimed to have put Kamaire to sleep on Wednesday night, but by that point the 7-year-old’s body had already been pulled from the lake that was roughly 45 miles away from their apartment.
The girl’s father reportedly told police that the girl’s door was open and she was gone when he woke up Thursday morning. He also told police that he had searched for Kamaire on Thursday morning, to no avail.
“They said they searched for about an hour or so. When they didn’t find her, that’s when they contacted law enforcement,” said Capt. Cliff Chandler.
The body has not been positively identified, but police say it fits the description and appearance of the missing 7-year-old.
“Based on information from [the Bartow County Sheriff’s Office] along with information we received from interviews, we are confident Ms. Wash is deceased,” Chandler said. “This individual fits the description of our missing person.”
Police have not yet stated the girl’s cause of death or how the body was found.
Before police had connected the body found in the lake to the disappearance of Kamaire Wash, there had been a frantic search around the girl’s McClelland Avenue neighborhood, Fox 5 Atlanta reported.
Police said the Wash family was new to the area, having just moved there from Wisconsin. They had reportedly lived in Georgia for less than a month.
Kamaire’s mother, who lives in Illinois, said she had no reason to suspect the girl’s father could do something like this and had trusted the couple to take care of Kamaire.
“She did love her father. She loved him. I trusted them enough to take care of my baby,” Kashira Pettigrew told Fox 5 Atlanta.
Pettigrew said she was devastated to learn of her daughter’s murder.
“The last time I’m going to see her, I’m going to be burying my baby,” Pettigrew said.
There is still more investigation needed into the murder of Kamaire Wash, including where her murder may have actually taken place. That will determine which department has jurisdiction over the murder investigation, police said.
[Image via East Point Police Department]