Investigators found the dead body of an 11-year-old Keansburg, New Jersey girl on Thursday after her mother reported the girl missing less than 24-hours earlier, WABC-TV reports.
Authorities said police K-9’s helped to locate Abbiegail Smith’s remains, which were found behind the apartment complex where her family lives. She was last seen in her family’s apartment around 7:45 p.m. Wednesday.
Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni said the ongoing investigation is a homicide case, and eliminated the immediate family as suspects, NJ.com reported.
“It’s a punch in the gut for all of us in this community, especially with law enforcement,” Gramiccioni said at a news conference on Thursday, according to NJ.com.
The prosecutor described the killing as an “isolated” incident, and told the community there’s “no reason to believe that you or your child should be worried.”
Still, a neighbor told the ABC News affiliate that she feels a sense of “fear for my own children, because this should not even occur. We’re talking a baby.”
The community held a candlelight vigil Thursday night to honor Abbiegail.
“She was a very happy girl. She never was like angry or sad at anyone or anything. She was never worried. She was always just peaceful and happy,” William Williams, a friend of Abbiegail’s brother, told WABC-TV.