Missing girl found dead in neighbor's tub

April 2, 2008 9:49:24 AM PDT
The search for a 7-year-old Utah girl ended tragically Tuesday night with the discovery of her traumatized body in another unit of her apartment building. Five men were taken into custody under "suspicion of homicide," police say.

FBI agents assisting in the missing person case found the body of 7-year-old Hser Nay Moo in the bathtub of a nearby apartment around 9 p.m. in the South Parc apartment complex, police announced at a news conference late Tuesday night.

"Once inside the apartment, they observed some evidence that led them to the bathroom of the apartment where they discovered the body of Hser Nay Moo," South Salt Lake City Police Chief Chris Snyder said.

The child appeared to have died from some sort of trauma, but Snyder declined to provide additional details. "I will say there is some trauma present and that's all I'm going to say," he said.

Moo had been missing since Monday afternoon when she walked away from her house after an argument with her 10-year-old brother.

The apartment where her body was discovered was the last unit searched by authorities during a daylong sweep of buildings, authorities announced.

Authorities detained four men at the apartment and a fifth at a separate location. Snyder would not say whether there was any connection between the girl's family and the suspects.

Their names were not released.

"Those five are currently in custody right now and back at the police department where they will be conducting interviews with them," he said.

The discovery came just hours after the South Salt Lake police announced at an afternoon briefing that an Amber Alert issued Tuesday was still in effect and that authorities had no new information on the case. Police acknowledged at the time that they were "gravely concerned" about the child's safety.

Hundreds of people had come out to help search for the child, whose family came to the United States from Burma in the summer. She was last seen leaving the South Parc apartment complex Monday afternoon after the argument with her brother.

Though the child was reported missing Monday, police issued the Amber Alert Tuesday -- a lag that Snyder has defended.

Moo's father, Cartoon Wah, had pleaded through an interpreter for the public's help finding the girl, his only daughter among five children.