An 11-year-old Gosnell, Ark., girl was found dead in a ditch on East County Road 122 just hours after being reported missing.
"It was about 6:30 last night, she was right there in that gate playing with her dog and I went in to take a shower after weeding the yard and came back out and she was gone," says Eric Williams, 11-year-old Jessica Williams' father. The Mississippi County Sheriff's Office says he reported her missing three hours later.
Mississippi County Sheriff's Department and Arkansas State Police investigators began searching on East County Road 122 near Big Lake National Wildlife Refuge after they found Jessica's puppy - which she received just one month ago - in that area.
The girl's body was found approximately three-and-a-half miles away from her home on North County Road 503, which leads investigators to suspect this may not be an accident. Mississippi County Sheriff Dale Cook says, "It was a large distance from the residence. It's kind of hard to believe this victim walked that far by herself."
Eric says he does not understand why anyone would want to harm his little girl.
"How do they live with themselves?" the father says, "Happy, go-getting, she loved everything; loved her dog."
Mississippi County authorities are investigating the circumstances of the girl's death. Investigators sent Jessica's body to the Arkansas State Crime Lab.
The sheriff's department and Jessica's family is urging those with any information about Jessica's disappearance and death to call the Mississippi County Sheriff's Department at (870) 762-2243.
Cook says they are especially looking for information about a car or someone walking by the home in the 5300 block of North County Road 503 around 4 p.m. Tuesday afternoon and into the night.