The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Wednesday, May 14, 2003  

Local Police Have Yet to Identify the Victim

The media in Savannah, Ga., today are reporting that local police have found a dead body, as yet unidentified, at least publicly.

Savannah's WTOC-TV reports:

A body discovered by police near Savannah's riverfront this morning has people wondering if it could be that of missing 12-year-old Ashleigh Moore. Police just aren't saying at this point whether there's any indication that this is her body, but it's safe to say the case is being treated in an extreme manner….

"At this point, all I can tell you is that we have a body," Savannah [Police Department] spokesman Bucky Burnsed said. "I'm not going to speculate for you, nor am I going to describe the body."

Just a few weeks ago, police held massive searches across the river on Hutchinson Island, looking for Ashleigh. They say, during that time, this portion of land was also searched, but nothing was found. Police aren't releasing any details about today's discovery, not even if the body is that of a man, woman, or child.

"We've gone beyond the discovery stage," said Burnsed. "We are now in the forensic stage and the identification stage. How long that takes, no one knows."

It seems odd to me that the Savannah police will not yet say whether the victim is an adult or a child, but that may be standard procedure for all I know. In the names of St. Anthony and St. Philomena, I pray it's not Ashleigh Moore.

[Post-publication addendum (May 15, 12:30 a.m., EDT): The latest reports from the Savannah Morning News, WJCL-TV, and WSAV-TV.]

[Post-publication update (May 15, 10:20 a.m., EDT): From today's Savannah Morning News: " Loved Ones Wait to Learn Whether Body is Ashleigh's":

[Police said it may take a day or two to identify the body, found near a wooded area behind the Marriott [Hotel] at 100 General McIntosh Blvd....

[Police would not say whether they suspect the body is Ashleigh, missing since April 18....

[Savannah police treated the crime scene behind the hotel as a high-profile case -- suggesting that they think the body may belong to the DeRenne Middle School seventh grader.

[In contrast to other body recoveries, officials said they wouldn't release details about the body -- including sex, race and approximate size -- until they confirm the identity....

[Police suspect foul play in Ashleigh's disappearance.]

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