Man, 20, arrested in Jorelys Rivera killing
A 20-year-old man was arrested Wednesday in connection with the killing of 7-year-old Jorelys Rivera of Canton, authorities announced.
Cherokee County Sheriff deputies bring in a suspect arrested in the Jorelys Rivera murder.
The GBI's Vernon Keenan said the suspect did not have any connection to the 7-year-old girl prior to her disappearance.
Ryan McCabe Brunn was a maintenance worker at the River Ridge apartments in Canton.
GBI Director Vernon Keenan identified the man as Ryan Brunn of Canton. Keenan said Brunn lived at the apartment complex where Jorelys was killed and had been a maintenance worker there.
Calling the killing "planned and calculated," Keenan declined to discuss evidence leading to the arrest. But said the investigation is not over. "This is a mammoth case."
Brunn, who has no known criminal record, had been under police surveillance since Tuesday evening, Keenan said. He had been employed at the complex since Nov. 7, John Bankhead, GBI spokesman, told the AJC.
Keenan said Brunn had been charged in the killing and additional charges may be filed by the Cherokee County District Attorney's Office.
"We are confidant that Brunn is the killer, that's why he's in custody," Keenan said, when asked if there are any other suspects.
Brunn, wearing a navy blue shirt, a blue Hollister hoodie and jeans and was taken into custody around 12:30 p.m. at the Canton apartment complex where the little girl lived. He was booked into the Cherokee County jail about 20 minutes later.
Keenan told the AJC the man did not have any connection to the 7-year-old girl prior to her disappearance.
Keenan said investigators believe the murder took place at a vacant unit at the apartment complex.
Neighbors in the complex told the AJC they were relieved at news of an arrest. Lorenza Wright said he heard the news, along with his mother and brother, when he went home for a lunch break.
"We all burst into tears," Wright said. "We were ecstatic."
The Canton girl's body was discovered Monday. She died of blunt force trauma to the head and stab wounds, the GBI said Tuesday. Jorelys had also been sexually assaulted, Keenan said at a news conference in Canton.
Keenan also said investigators found what they believe to be blood in a vacant apartment unit, and that substance is being tested at the State Crime Lab to determine if it is linked to Jorelys. Keenan said investigators believe Jorelys was killed within two hours of her disappearance Friday.
There are 65 local, state and federal investigators currently working on the case, Baker said Tuesday.
"Several search warrants have been executed thus far and hundreds of interviews have been conducted," Baker said.
Several registered sex offenders live in the vicinity of the apartment complex, and investigators have extensively interviewed all of them, Keenan said. "We don't have any reason to believe any of them were involved," he said.
Hours after Jorelys' body was found at the apartment complex where she lived, her Cherokee County neighbors and friends held a candlelight vigil Monday night in her honor at the same playground where she was last seen. Her body was found Monday afternoon in a metal trash bin, the GBI said.
At the River Ridge apartments, neighbors were shocked and saddened about the fate of the girl, a friendly child often seen playing outside with other children. The playground where Jorelys often played is across the street from the apartment where she lived. And Monday night, it was at the playground where the community mourned the girl.
On the fourth day of the search for Jorelys, a 50-member team made up of GBI agents, Georgia State Patrol troopers, Department of Natural Resources rangers and other state officers specially trained in child abductions was brought in Monday to assist local police and firefighters. Police said they believed they were working a child abduction case.
Searchers combed the apartment complex, checking every vehicle and some apartments for any clues to the girl's whereabouts. The parking lot of a nearby movie theater served as the command center for search efforts, which included a state patrol helicopter Monday.
But just hours after state and national search crews began to look for the girl, the massive effort ended with Keenan's announcement. The girl's body was found around 12:30 p.m., he said.
Jorelys, who turned 7 on Aug. 20, disappeared around 5 p.m. Friday while she took a break from playing at the apartment complex on River Ridge Drive, police said. She reportedly told other children at the playground that she was going inside to get drinks, but never returned.
The girl's mother was inside while the child played outside, but a teenager was supposed to have been watching Jorelys, Lt. Jeff Hall with the Canton police department said Monday. The girl's two younger siblings were taken from their mother and placed in protective custody because of a lack of supervision, Det. Candy Worthy with Canton police said Sunday morning. The children were still in protective custody Tuesday, according to Baker. <SNIP>
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