Probe of child’s remains continues: Detectives sift through tips from public

Straw now covers the area where a child’s remains were found at the Smyrna-Clayton Little Lass fields. Delaware State News/Marc Clery

SMYRNA — As investigation into the discovery of a child’s remains continued for a sixth day on Wednesday, detectives sifted through public input with varying levels of validity.

“Some of the public information is good,” Smyrna Police spokesman Cpl. Brian Donner said. “Other is people who are trying to dig for info and just want to talk about it.”

The thought that a young girl recently reported missing in New Jersey was found in Smyrna proved unfounded — she disappeared three days after the remains of a child believed to be less than 10 years old were discovered near the Little Lass softball fields.

“We checked into that with police in Bridgeton, New Jersey and found that the incidents could not be related based on the times involved,” Smyrna Police spokesman Cpl. Brian Donner said.

Smyrna Police are encouraged, however, by tips from a half dozen or so persons who regularly use the area for fishing in Duck Creek Pond near where the body was found.

“Some are in the area maybe three to five times a week and have been able to discuss whether they may have seen anything out of the ordinary and if so when that was,” Cpl. Donner said.

The body was discovered by a person walking his dog on Friday afternoon. Police have since been attempting to establish a timeline on how long the remains had been there along with trying to establish the victim’s identity.

“It was kind of disguised, but not completely hidden,” Cpl. Donner said of the area where the remains were spotted. “It wasn’t at home plate but it wasn’t in the water or deeper into the woods. It was somewhere in between that.”

Two detectives in Smyrna PD’s’ Criminal Investigations Unit are spending their entire time on the case, while command staff and two other trained detectives are providing manpower as well.

A child’s remains were found at the Smyrna-Clayton Little Lass fields.

“Our investigatory resources are not being used on anything else right now,” Cpl. Donner said.

“Someone out there is missing a kid and we have to find them.”

Police are examining forensic evidence and were joined by the Delaware Attorney General’s Office, Chief Medical Examiner and Delaware State Fire Marshal’s Office in the response. Evidence of a small fire was located in the area of discovery, authorities said.

Police asked that anyone with potential information call Det./Sgt. Brien Street at 653-9217.

Outside law enforcement agencies contact Smyrna on a daily basis to share information that could be relevant, Cpl. Donner said. He described the amount of local tips as a “trickle more than a waterfall right now.”

The Little Lass softball fields were closed as investigation began last week and scheduled to reopen Wednesday. The organization issued a statement and referred all questions to police:

“We are saddened and disheartened about the recent event at our complex. We will continue to work with law enforcement authorities.
“Smyrna Clayton Little Lass has and always will be a safe place for young ladies to learn and play the game of fast pitch softball.”

Reach staff writer Craig Anderson at canderson@newszap.com

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