April 7, 2012

Who Killed Jessica Funk-Haslam? (VIDEO | 7 PICS)

Macabre discovery: The 13-year-old's body was found in this baseball shelter at the Rosemont Community Park in Sacramento, Jessica Funk-Haslam was stabbed and strangled before her body was dumped in a baseball dugout.
Rosemont, California - A 13-year-old girl was stabbed, beaten and strangled before her body was dumped in a baseball dugout, it emerged today.

Jessica Funk-Haslam was found by a passer-by at the Rosemont Community Park in Sacramento on Tuesday.

She had suffered blunt force trauma to her head, a stab wound and was asphyxiated, according to a coroner's report.

Jessica, an eighth-grader at nearby Albert Einstein Middle School, was last seen around 5.30pm the previous evening when she left her home to meet someone following an argument with her mother.

She was still wearing the zebra-striped jacket she went out in when she was discovered.

According to one witness, two people were seen near the park between 11pm and 12.30am on the night she disappeared.

They had parked a vehicle in a parking lot near Jessica's school and then sat on bleachers nearby, according to www.news10.net.

Another witness, Justin Gray, who lives near Rosemont Park, says he heard a male and a young girl talking there at around 2.30am on Tuesday morning, but couldn't make out anyone in the dark.

A teenage boy who had been dating Jessica said she had been hanging out with the wrong crowd and skipped school.

Body of girl, 13, found dumped in baseball dugout after she was battered, stabbed and throttled to death
Jessica's mother, Tara Funk-Haslam, believes her daughter's death may have involved 'at least one girlfriend.'

'She was wanting to go out and see somebody. She wouldn’t tell me who,' she told CBS13.

Grieving: Jessica's mother Tara (left) and father Allen Porter (right) desperately wants answers

'I had tried to keep her home too much. I didn’t want her to go out at night.'

She had some 'strong ideas' about her daughter's demise, but didn't want to speculate, she added.

But she believed neither gangs nor drugs were a factor.

Jessica's father, Allen Porter, said he spoke to his daughter on the phone about 6pm on Monday - half an hour after the argument with her mother.

'She wanted to move here and I was trying to set it up so she could,' he told www.news10.net.

Mystery: One witness said they saw a young girl with a man at the park around the time Jessica was killed, but detectives are yet to make a major breakthrough

Tributes: Friends and relatives held a candlelight vigil in memory of Jessica yesterday

He added: 'I don't know why anybody would do this. I just want to know why. 

'She was a wonderful kid. She loved to laugh, loved to smile.'

Investigators have been questioning Jessica's friends, family and classmates as they try to piece together her final hours.

Despair: One of the many mourners who attended the vigil
Yesterday, her mother, friends and families who played in the park held a candlelit vigil close to where the teenager was found.

That was followed by a community meeting hosted by Sacramento County Sheriff’s Sgt Jim Barnes at Atonement Lutheran Church.

Kiersten Brown, a close friend of Jessica’s told CBS13 how she could 'make anyone laugh and smile in the worst of times'.

'It’s definitely going to be different without her, but we’ll get through, I know we will,' she said.
A statement from Sacramento City Unified School District said: 'We are saddened and deeply troubled by the loss of a promising young student.

'We continue to assist the Sheriff's Office with their investigation and to provide support to the Albert Einstein school community as they struggle to cope with this horrific news.

'Our hearts go out to this child's family and friends in their time of grief.'

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