Investigators: Child's killer likely lived in apartment complex


Dec. 6, 2011 - Canton: Corie Marvin, 26, Canton, weeps after leaving a note at a makeshift shrine on the playground at River Ridge Apartments where 7-year-old Jorelys Rivera was sexually assaulted and murdered in Canton on Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2011. Investigators believe the suspect lives in or near the apartments.

CHEROKEE COUNTY, Ga.,None - Autopsy results were released Tuesday after a missing girl's body was found in the Dumpster of a Canton apartment complex the previous day.

According to the autopsy, the girl died of blunt force trauma to the head, and she was stabbed and sexually assaulted.

The girl, Jorelys Rivera, was a 7-year-old who disappeared from a playground at the River Ridge apartments where she lived.

She was being watched by a teenage baby sitter. Neighbors said she was playing with friends Friday afternoon when she left to get drinks but never returned. Her two younger siblings have since been taken into state custody.

Law enforcement officials launched a massive search and found the body three days later while sifting through the complex's Dumpster.

Georgia Bureau of Investigation Director Vernon Keenan said authorities believe the killer lived in the apartment complex, though no suspects have been identified.

Keenan said Wednesday investigators found Jorelys' blood in a vacant apartment.

"This was a very calculated and planned crime," Keenan said at a Tuesday news conference.

Several sex offenders are in the area, but they have been ruled out as suspects. The 65 investigators working the case have conducted several hundred interviews and re-interviewed people several times.

Keenan would not discuss if any apartment complex employees are suspects, but he did say the killer lives in the apartments or has access to them.

Residents on edge over killing

Residents of the River Ridge at Canton apartments have been left on edge since the discovery of Jorelys' body.

Now that word has come the killer may have lived among the residents, adults and children are feeling betrayed that someone so close to them could be so heartless and kill their young neighbor.

"Whoever did this you're a coward. You're nothing more than a worthless waste of space," one resident said about the killer.

One of Jorelys' friends, Logan Carroll, 11, said she was upset about what happened to her friend.

"I think they better watch out because the police are going to get them. I'm mad," Carroll said.

"You know, it's scary to think that somebody's among us and she might have been here all this time," another resident said.

Tenant James Gibson said he saw investigators in and out of one worker's apartment.

GBI Director Vernon Keenan was tight-lipped when asked about apartment complex employees who might be suspects.

"I'm not gonna discuss any specific suspects," he said.

For Caroll, he said he is scared and wants her friend's killer caught. Channel 2's Tom Jones asked Carroll how worried she was.

"On a scale from 1 to 1 million, a million," Carroll said.

Tenants said they were happy to hear that investigators have multiple leads.

They say a pall is over the complex and they think it won't go away until Jorelys' killer is caught.

Family had history with DFCS

As state investigators revealed the gruesome details of what happened to 7-year-old Jorelys, attention turns to whether her murder could have been prevented.

Rivera's younger siblings have been taken into state custody.

Channel 2's Lori Geary confirmed Tuesday that state child welfare workers did have contact with the Rivera family before Jorelys' murder.

DFCS confirmed told Geary they are now reviewing their case file on the Rivera family.

DFCS workers said they took Jorelys' siblings over the weekend for alleged lack of supervision by their mother, Joselinne Rivera, who is now mourning the loss of her oldest child.

In a statement from a DFCS representative, they said there were previous visits to the Rivera household.

"The department can confirm that we had previous contact with this family. We are currently reviewing the case file to determine the extent of our involvement," the statement said.

Geary put in an open records request on the Rivera's case file and hope to be able to report those details soon.

Funeral Arrangements

A public viewing is scheduled for Friday at Darby Funeral Home from 5 until 8 p.m. for Jorelys Rivera.

A public funeral service will take place Saturday at the funeral home from noon until 1:30 p.m.

A private service will also take place for family members this weekend. After the services, Rivera's remains will be flown to Puerto Rico for burial.

Authorities are offering a $15,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction.

Police are asking anyone with information about this investigation to please to call their tipline at 770-721-7852.

Investigators are taking information and following leads 24 hours a day.


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