Dannarriah Finley was four years old when she was abducted from her home in Orange, Texas. She was raped and strangled to death on July 4th, 2002. The little girls body was discovered on July 8, 2002, in an isolated area on Pleasure Island in Port Arthur, Texas, approximately 27 miles from her residence.
Police had few suspects but never had enough evidence to charge any of them. The case remains unsolved. $50,000 reward for information.
Article Below Published On July 4th, 2007 – 5 Years To The Day Of Dannarriah Finley’s Abduction
No arrest has been made in the July 4 disappearance and murder of 4-year-old Dannarriah Finley five years ago.
Her body was found four days later, July 8, 2002, about 27 miles from home by a pipeline inspector in a remote part of Pleasure Island in Port Arthur. She had been sexually assaulted and strangled before being left wrapped in a flowered bed sheet.
“It’s a horrendous case and the person needs to be brought to justice,” said John Kimbrough, Orange County district attorney. “I would like to see the case solved.”
Over the past five years the case has traveled back and forth between the district attorney’s office and the Orange Police Department. At times the DA’s office has requested additional information; investigators find the information and return it for review, said Chief Sam Kittrell of the Orange Police Department.
“We last sent the case over there about a year ago,” Kittrell said, adding the case is still not at a point to be presented to the grand jury, Kittrell said.
“The case is still open and is still reviewed,” Kittrell said. “We are looking for new forensic opportunities.”
Kittrell said he hopes new DNA techniques can help develop leads to Dannarriah’s killer.
“They are always developing techniques in the analysis of fibers with new microscopes and tests,” Kittrell said. “The new techniques are necessary in order to provide a degree of accuracy as to the source of the fiber.”
According to Kittrell, the case information with notes written during the early days of the investigation is still on a board in a briefing room.
“We always want the case to be a constant reminder to us until it is solved,” Kittrell said.
Port Arthur police officials also said they have also been working leads in the case.
“Any leads that become available we run on it and run it until we can’t run it anymore,” said Sgt. Rodney Harrison of the Port Arthur Police Department. “Sooner or later somebody who knows something will come forward and push us over the top.”
Soon after Dannarriah’s body was found, Orange police distributed a picture of a flowered bed sheet in hopes that information would come forward. As a result, police were able to collect new leads, some of them proved to be beneficial while others were dead ends. The bed sheet’s pattern had been discontinued and was like the one that Dannarriah’s body was wrapped.
Harrison said officials with the PAPD and OPD regularly meet with the Orange County district attorney’s office to go over the case.
“This is a very complex case and a lot of evidence from several different law enforcement agencies has been collected,” said Capt. Charles Stephenson of the Orange Police Department. “It might be a cold case, but not a closed case.”
Dannarriah’s mother, Jamie Arnold, discovered Dannarriah was not in the house in the 1000 block of 4th Street when she awoke about 10 a.m. that July Fourth. Arnold had last seen her daughter asleep around 4 a.m. Dannarriah was last seen wearing a white floral shirt and purple shorts.
Arnold admitted to officials she often left the front door unlocked at night because her mother often came by the house.
The 4-year-old girl with the shy smile and long braids in her hair captured the hearts and attention of thousands of people across the nation. Hundreds of volunteers from across Texas searched the town over the next few days. Some even bringing helicopters and horses.
More than 700 mourners turned out at Mount Zion Baptist Church to say good-bye at Dannarriah’s funeral. Her tiny body lay in a white casket next to several school photos and about a dozen pink floral arrangements.
Dannarriah’s family, including her parents, Jamie Arnold and Johnny Edwards, sat in the pew directly in front of the casket. Also in attendance were Dannarriah’s sisters who were 2, 6, and 8 years old at the time.
Dannarriah attended North Early Learning Center in the pre-kindergarten program. She would have entered kindergarten the following fall. Teachers at the center put together a photo album with pictures of Dannarriah at school functions and presented it to the family.
The weeks before the incident officials with the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services had investigated Arnold for neglect. However, according to officials the case was dismissed in December 2004. The family is reported by CPS officials to be “doing good.”
Arnold declined to comment. Attempts to locate Johnny Edwards were unsuccessful.
Anyone with information about the murder is encouraged to call the Orange Police Department at 409-883-1026 or 409-883-1095. Callers can also call the Port Arthur Police Department at 409-983-8624 or 409-983-8638.