Authorities in Senath, Missouri, announced late Tuesday that searchers had recovered the body of 3-year-old Breeann Rodriguez. The Daily Dunklin Democrat reports the girl's remains were discovered in a floodway ditch near Hornersville, about eight miles southeast of her home in Senath.
The remains were found by an officer with the Missouri State Highway Patrol Water Patrol as he searched the ditch by boat. Breeann was last seen Aug. 6 as she rode her bicycle in front of her home in Senath. She was with her 5-year-old brother but disappeared during a short time when the sibling went inside to get a drink.
Authorities and community members searched the area for some sign of the little girl but it wasn't until a few days later -- when training wheels believed to have been on her bike were discovered -- that investigators had any leads to her disappearance. Authorities interviewed and later arrested a neighbor Friday who lived near the Rodriguez family, charging him with the little girl's murder. Shawn Morgan, 43, of Senath -- a father of three who lived on the same street as the girl's family -- was charged with first degree murder, tampering with physical evidence and armed criminal action.
Morgan gave statements to authorities admitting to grabbing the little girl when he saw her standing on the ladder to the pool in his yard, carrying her into his home then suffocating her with a plastic trash bag. He then admitted to putting her body in the bag, then driving to a floodway ditch on Highway 164 where he threw the bag containing her body into the water. Afterward, he went back home, dismantled her bicycle then drove back and threw the pieces into the water.
After several days of searching, the child's body has been found and even though the outcome of the case is horrifying, her parents can at least receive comfort from being able to bury her properly.
As for Morgan, he is currently being held without bond in the Dunklin County Justice Center. His first appearance before a judge was on Tuesday when he was arraigned. The next court date was set for Aug. 30 to give Morgan time to acquire legal representation.
- Daily Dunklin Democrat
- Missouri State Highway Patrol Water Patrol