Body may be that of missing 5-year-old

June 5, 2009 11:07:34 AM PDT
A body discovered along a Michigan river appears to be a female roughly the same age as a 5-year-old girl who disappeared nearly two weeks ago, authorities said Friday. Monroe County Sheriff Tilman Crutchfield said the body appears to be the same size as Nevaeh Buchanan. A shirt was found similar to the one she was wearing when she vanished May 24, he said.

"We have reasonable suspicion that this is the body of Nevaeh," Crutchfield said at a news conference.

The body was found Thursday under cement along the banks of the River Raisin in Monroe County, about 7 miles from Nevaeh's home in Monroe, 40 miles south of Detroit.

Investigators hope autopsy and toxicology test results will confirm a cause of death. There were no obvious signs of violence to the body, Crutchfield said.

The body appeared to be buried in a shallow grave, said Andrew Arena, special agent in charge of the FBI's Detroit office. Investigators planned to return to the river's edge later Friday to look for more evidence. Two fishermen found the body.

The discovery should allow investigators to focus on finding the person responsible, Crutchfield said. That person "to our knowledge is still out there in the community," he said.

When Nevaeh's mother, Jennifer Buchanan, was told about the body, "she broke down, and broke down hard," said Michael Buchanan, her brother.

"She couldn't believe her daughter had to go through this," he said, adding that if it is Nevaeh's body it provides "some type of closure, even if it is for the worst."

There have been no arrests in the case. Crutchfield wouldn't comment Friday when asked about two people previously identified as "persons of interest" in the case. One of them, George Kennedy, 39, is a friend of Nevaeh's mother and is a registered sex offender in custody on a parole violation.

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