Body Found In Nature Preserve Identified As Missing 13-Year-Old

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A mother’s fears were confirmed on Saturday when the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office announced that a body found earlier this week in a nature preserve was her daughter, Janessa’s.

A hiker discovered the girl’s decomposing body a mile away from the entrance of the Triple Creek Nature Preserve at 13305 Balm Boyette Road.

The Sheriff’s Office is treating her death as a homicide.

Details about the case or how the girl died is unknown at this stage. It was also not previously publicized that the teen was missing.

Days following her disappearance, friends, and relatives of the girl have complained on social media that law enforcement had not treated Janessa’s disappearance with urgency.

“I need Facebook help,” wrote Eugene Shannon, identifying himself as the boyfriend of Janessa’s mother, Michelle Mosley. “We’ve called everybody and we can’t seem to get the help that we need. So I’m asking for Facebook help.”

The mother had also set up an online fundraising campaign seeking money to assist a search. The campaign indicated Janessa lived with her father in Riverview.

Hillsborough County sheriff’s spokeswoman Cristal Nuñez said that the agency first treated the case as though the child had run away from home because she had regularly done so.

Following further questions about why law enforcement didn’t draw more attention to the case, she responded in an email with the criteria for issuing an Amber Alert, which notifies the public of a child who has been abducted and may be in peril. The requirements include that the child must be younger than 18 and that there’s clear evidence of an abduction and that a child is endangered.

Children may be deemed endangered if they’re younger than 12, have mental health concerns, including suicidal thoughts, or are in need of medication.

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