Major update in death of 4-year-old girl whose decomposing body was found near ditch after going missing from bedroom | The Sun

OFFICIALS have issued a major update as they try to solve the murder of a four-year-old girl whose decomposing body was found near a ditch.

The Texas Department of Public Safety is appealing for information in the 2002 killing of Dannarriah Finley.

An increased reward of up to $6,000 is now on offer for information that leads to an arrest of those responsible, as long as the tip is received before the next featured cold case is announced.

It is routine to offer a reward of $3,000 for information leading to an arrest on all cases on the Texas Rangers’s Cold Case website.

Finley was reported missing to the Orange Police Department on July 4, 2002 and had last been seen alive sleeping in a bedroom at her mom’s house, along with her siblings and cousins.

Her mostly nude and partially decomposed body was found three days later approximately 27 miles away, in a remote location near a dredge pipeline ditch off State Highway 82 in Port Arthur, an area known as Pleasure Island.

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She had been kidnapped, raped and brutally murdered.

Although an intensive investigation was launched, DPS officials say the case remains unsolved.

Anyone with details regarding the murder is asked to come forward with information.

To be eligible for cash rewards, tipsters MUST provide information to authorities by calling the Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-252-TIPS (8477).

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Information can also be submitted through the Texas Rangers’ Cold Case website or by phone to the Missing Person Hotline at 1-800-346-3243.

Mark Blanton was the assistant police chief in Port Arthur in 2002 when the girl’s body was discovered by a pipeline worker.

Blanton said there was not much DNA evidence left at the scene, and a nearby alligator was euthanized.

He previously said: “I did not want to retire without that case being solved. I still think it’s a solvable case.”

Blanton retired after 40 years in law enforcement and is said to still be haunted by the case, according to The Orange Leader.

During the investigation detectives located a pink, white and yellow flower print sheet they believe was likely to have been used to transfer the body from where she was killed to Pleasure Island.

Finley was positively identified by DNA and every sex offender in Orange at the time was questioned, according to news reports.

Officials originally did not comment on the condition of Finley’s clothes, or if any were even located.

Sam Kittrell, a former Orange Police Chief, said at the time that hundreds of pieces of evidence had been collected by investigators from different sites.

FBI Behavioral Sciences Division and the Bureau’s laboratory in Quantico, Virginia, assisted with the case.

Earlier this month, Orange Police Det. Nick Medina said the investigation is active.

“We are at a point where we are waiting on new technology or new investigative measures that may assist in the investigation,” Medina said.

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And two decades ago, evidence was preserved for future testing.

“It stays in every investigator’s mind, but not only officers but people in the community. It could have been anybody’s child,” Medina said.

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