Bullhead City, AZ — The Bullhead City Police Department has released the police report connected to the death of eight-year-old Isabella ‘Bella’ Grogan-Canella.
The report says that Bella and her ten-year-old sister had been at home with their mother Tania Grogan, her husband Ralph Foster and his mother, and 3 of Grogan’s friends on Sept. 1.
The adults were upstairs and the two girls have been downstairs. Justin James Rector was also downstairs with the girls.
At some point, most of the adults left the home. Before leaving, Grogan told the two girls to watch a film downstairs. Foster’s mother was upstairs in bed.
Bella’s sister told police that she and her sister were playing hide and seek. She decided to go to the bathroom and when she came out, she could not discover her sister.
The sister notified Foster’s mother and then known as her mother. The other adults returned home and they started searching for Bella. When they had been unable to find her, they contacted police at about 1:30 a.m..
Upon understanding that Rector had been in the residence with the girls, the police began searching for him. They located him on Highway 95 in the location of a neighborhood Walmart shortly following three a.m. Throughout the interview, they discovered that Rector had stolen several products from Walmart, like a shirt, underwear and footwear. He also left behind his shoes, which the police were able to retrieve.
Rector admitted that he was at Grogan’s house but stated he left shortly after the mother and other adults. He told the police that he went to a friend’s home in the location but that person was not home. He claimed he stayed there for a whilst anyways prior to going to Walmart.
During this time, the search for the young girl had already begun. At around ten:15 p.m. Sept. 2, Rector was placed below arrest for shoplifting. He remained in custody as the search for Bella continued.
A shallow grave was positioned on Sept. 3 and the body was visually identified as that of the 8-year-old girl. An FBI evidence team examined the region around the grave and positioned shoe prints that apper to match Rector’s distinctive footwear that he had left at Walmart. The body inside the grave was wearing a T-shirt but no shorts or underwear.
When Rector was interviewed about the discovery, he did not deny that he killed Bella but stated that he could not talk about it and requested an attorney.
Detectives also interviewed the friend’s residence Rector claimed to have visited, who said they had not heard from Rector, and an additional person that saw Rector close to Walmart.
Following the initial investigation and interviews, Rector was arrested and charged with murder.
The Mohave County Medical Examiner released the lead to of death for Bella on Friday morning.