RIVERVIEW, Fla. -- A body found in a Florida nature preserve this week has been identified as that of a 13-year-old girl who had been reported missing.
Janessa Shannon's decomposed body was found by a hiker on Wednesday at the Triple Creek Nature Preserve in Riverview. Her identity was confirmed by the Hillsborough County Medical Examiner's Office, with the assistance of the Sheriff's Office.
Sheriff's spokeswoman Cristal Nunez said the case is being treated as homicide. Her cause of death has not been disclosed.
"Our first priority is to put someone in handcuffs," Nuñez told the Tampa Bay Times, "not to get out information that could compromise that."
The girl's mother, Michelle Mosley, told the Tampa Bay Times that Janessa had sneaked out of her Bradenton home before. When Mosley found out the teen had done it again and wound up at a boy's house, she punished her by sending her back to her father's home in Riverview on July 1, a day earlier than planned.
The father, Nahshon Shannon, grounded her, but the following day found her bedroom empty, the paper reports. He reported the disappearance to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office on July 3 and began to search for the girl along with Mosley.
Agency officials never publicized her disappearance, later saying she was a habitual runaway and that's how they treated the case, reports the Tampa Bay Times. However her mother said she usually heard from her daughter if she left.
"She had snuck out before," Mosley told the paper. "But she never stayed gone."
The first information released to the public about the girl's disappearance came Saturday, when the Hillsborough County Medical Examiner identified the body, the paper reports.
Both parents questioned why more wasn't done to find the girl
"I wanted them to search for her, be active," Nahshon Shannon told the Tampa Bay Times. "My daughter is a beautiful spirit, a spirited young person ... I hope we find out exactly what happened to her, and the person responsible."