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Police: 8-year-old missing Arizona girl strangled

Isabella "Bella" Grogan-Cannella

CBS Las Vegas

BULLHEAD CITY, Ariz. - Authorities say a missing 8-year-old girl who was found dead near her northern Arizona home had been strangled.

The Mohave County medical examiner released the manner of death for Isabella "Bella" Grogan-Cannella on Friday. The cause of death was asphyxiation.

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Justin James Rector

Bullhead City Police Dept. via CBS affiliate KPHO

Police found Isabella's body in a shallow grave near her Bullhead City home Wednesday, a day after her family reported her missing.

She was discovered wearing the same green, ruffled, sparkly tank top she had on when last seen. However, authorities say she didn't have any clothing on her lower half. They're still investigating whether she was a victim of sexual assault.

Justin Rector has been charged with kidnapping and first-degree murder in her death. The 26-year-old, who is described as a family friend who had stayed at the girl's home for the past few days, is being held without bond.

Authorities say they have not ruled out other arrests in the case.

Bullhead City is about 100 miles southeast of Las Vegas.