116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
DAVENPORT - Davenport's police chief on Wednesday confirmed what many suspected - the remains discovered last week near DeWitt are those of Breasia Terrell, the 10-year-old Davenport girl missing since last July.
An autopsy confirmed the identification, Davenport Police Chief Paul Sikorski said at a news conference at the police station.
'We have received confirmation that the remains are those of Breasia Terrell,” Sikorski said.
Visibly shaken, he paused.
'This news is heartbreaking, both for Breasia's family and the Davenport community,” he said.
Sikorski said investigators had remained in contact with Breasia's family after the remains were found March 22. Her family was informed Tuesday of the identification.
The police chief declined to offer details about the investigation, but he made it clear Breasia's death is being investigated as a homicide.
'Honestly, since she disappeared, we've investigated this case like it's a homicide,” Sikorski added.
Human remains were discovered by a pair of fishermen in or near a small pond just off the intersection of 270th Avenue and 218th Street, 3 miles north of the Clinton County city of DeWitt.
Investigators believe Breasia was last seen late July 9 or during the early morning hours of July 10 last year.
The lone person of interest in Breasia's disappearance is being held in the Clinton County Jail.
Henry Earl Dinkins, 48, was arrested July 10 and later charged with three unrelated counts of violating the sex-offender registry.
Breasia spent the night with her brother at Dinkins' home during the time period she disappeared. Dinkins is the boy's father.
He has not been charged with any crime related to Breasia's disappearance.
In mid-August last year, Dinkins was charged with felony methamphetamine trafficking in Bureau County, Ill.
Breasia's disappearance prompted extensive searches throughout Davenport - including the waters of the lagoon at Credit Island - by Davenport police. Last August, the Clinton County Sheriff's Department, searchers from an array of other area law enforcement agencies and a number of volunteers searched rural Clinton County.
Sikorski declined to comment if the area where Breasia's body was found had been the focus of those searches.
Breasia's mother, Aishia Lankford of Davenport, said in a statement, issued through the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, that 'words cannot describe the heartache and emptiness that we feel.”
'Our love for Breasia has gotten us through the past nine months and will continue to see us through as we fight for justice,” the statement said. 'We want to thank the community, law enforcement, friends and family who have put in countless hours to help bring Bree home.”
The statement said family members are asking for privacy while they grieve their loss, adding, 'Our focus will now be on seeking answers to what happened on the night she was last seen.”
Sikorski concluded Wednesday's news conference by asking for prayers and support for Breasia's family.
'This is a very tragic and emotional time for everyone - especially Breasia's family,” he said. 'And we ask that the community remains patient - with Breasia's family and investigators.”