Jessica Marie Lunsford disappeared from the Florida home she shared with her father and grandparents in the early morning hours of Feb. 24, 2005. Almost a month later, the 9-year-old girl's body was found. Officials said she'd been kidnapped and killed by a registered sex offender who entered through an unlocked door and later sexually assaulted her.
John Evander Couey enters the courtroom to listen to closing arguments in his case at the Richard E. Gerstein Justice Building in Miami Wednesday, March 7, 2007. Later Wednesday, Couey, a registered sex offender, was convicted of the kidnapping, rape and murder of 9-year-old Jessica Lunsford in Homosassa, Fla., in February of 2005. Couey was sentenced to death by a judge on Aug. 24, 2007.
John Couey makes his first appearance at a detention facility in Lecanto, Fla., March 20, 2005. According to authorities, Couey confessed in Georgia, where he was taken into custody as a "person of interest," to kidnapping and killing Jessica. His confession was thrown out because he did not have a lawyer present as he had requested. Couey lived near Jessica's home before he left for Georgia without telling authorities.
Jessica's father, Mark Lunsford, embraces her cousin Kristy Kirkland, right, before addressing the media near his home in Homosassa, Fla., March 19, 2005. Jessica's body was found during an overnight search in a densely wooded area, only about 150 yards away from her home. Mark Lunsford visited the search scene and told reporters, "Everyone heard me say, time after time, that she would be home. She's home now."
Jessica's mother, Angela Bryant, right, reacts as her husband, Lonnie Bryant, thanks people who attended a memorial service for Jessica at the Living Waters Church in Lebanon, Ohio, March 19, 2005. Angela Bryant said to the crowd of about 300 people: "To see all of you people here puts a little bit in my heart - and my heart is so empty."
Candles, cards and other items are left on the corner of the street leading to the Lunsford home in Homosassa, Fla., March 19, 2005.
John Couey's half-sister Dorothy Dixon appears in a mug shot released by the Citrus County sheriff's office, March 19, 2005. Dixon and two others living in the home where the confessed killer stayed were charged with obstructing police for failing to notify authorities when he allegedly told them he had committed a crime. A fourth resident was also picked up and charged in an unrelated matter.
Neighbors hold candles behind police lines near the home of Jessica Lunsford, March 18, 2005, in Homosassa, Fla. Police had eariler announced that John Couey had confessed to her murder.
John Couey is taken into custody by deputies in Augusta, Ga., March 17, 2005. Sheriff Jeff Dawsy said because Couey was under the influence of drugs when the kidnapping occurred, detectives might never know how long Jessica was held before she was slain. Her body was found in a shallow hole, encased in two black plastic trash bags.
A sign reading "Bring Jessica Home" stands near the girl's home, Feb. 28, 2005, in Homosassa, Fla. The Lunsford family said Jessica was last seen when her grandmother tucked her into bed, and that her father discovered she was missing the next morning. Police said a door to the house was unlocked and a doll was missing.
Mark Lunsford, left, and Ruth Lunsford, Jessica's grandmother, speak to the media, Feb. 28, 2005, in Homosassa, Fla. Mark Lunsford said he was convinced that his daughter did not leave home voluntarily, even though authorities had uncovered no evidence she was abducted.
Mark Lunsford and Angela Bryant, Jessica's parents, are interviewed on CBS' "The Early Show," Feb. 28, 2005. The couple divorced when Jessica was about 1, said Bryant, who has since remarried and has a 5-year-old son.
Angela Bryant holds pictures of her daughter outside her Morrow, Ohio, home, Feb. 25, 2005. Bryant said the FBI came to her home and asked when she had last seen her daughter, which was about four years earlier. She said her ex-husband had refused to let her see the girl, because he said it was not the right time.
Jessica Lunsford, left, poses with Santa Claus in December 2004.
A canine search and rescue team looks for clues in the scrub along U.S. 19 in Homosassa, Fla., March 1, 2005.
Volunteers search in Florida's Withlacoochee State Forest for signs of Jessica Lunsford, Feb. 28, 2005. Hundreds of volunteers braved fog, torrential rain and a tornado watch to scour thick forests and marshlands around the girl's house. Authorities suspended the full-scale search after five days, expressing frustration that it uncovered little evidence.
Volunteers board a bus to search for Jessica Lunsford, Feb. 26, 2005, in Homosassa, Fla.
Blake, left, and Cody Curby, hold up missing fliers for Jessica Lunsford, Feb. 26, 2005, in Homosassa, Fla.