Hundreds turned out for a prayer vigil Friday in honor of Jenise Wright, as the search for the 6-year-old's killer intensifies. The Kitsap County Sheriff scheduled a Saturday afternoon press conference, saying there was an important development.
The vigil took place in the parking lot of Crossroads Neighborhood Church, the very same place from which authorities delivered the somber update that Jenise's body had been found the day before.
We are here to honor her life and let her family know we are here for them, one pastor told the crowd.
Many in the crowd were Jenise's neighbors at Steel Creek Mobile Home Park, some were strangers who never got the chance to meet her, and quite a few were parents and even children, who should have been Jenise's first grade classmates this fall.
Jenise was the perfect little girl and I don't know who would ever hurt her, said family friend Mary Pelmar. I'll miss her coming over and asking me to play. Her smile was so unique and special.
Also in the crowd was Bishop Chris Byron of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Bremerton, where Jim Wright often attended with Jenise and his other children.
I have been with them since Monday, and we've shared a lot of tears its been very hard, he said. The first few days they were very hopeful that we'd find Jenise and she'd be okay. And they continued that hope right until the very end.
He said the news that Jenise had been killed was a crushing blow to the family.
Accusations that the parents were somehow involved in her death have also been hard on them.
It's upsetting, because you know, people are judging ,and they don't know Jim Wright, said Byron. And if you'd met him and met the family, you'd know the parents aren't involved, there is just no way. They have a wonderful relationship with their kids.
People were encouraged to wear purple to the vigil - Jenise's favorite color - and several of her favorite songs were played during the ceremony at the request of the family.
Byron says they wanted to attend the vigil, but were still too upset to leave their home and speak publicly.