8-Year-Old Arizona Girl Found in Shallow Grave Was Strangled; Police Investigating Possible Rape

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An 8-year-old girl who was found in a shallow grave in Arizona after she disappeared from her family’s home was strangled, and police are reviewing the possibility that she was sexually assaulted, officials said on Friday.

The Mohave County medical examiner ruled that Isabella Grogan-Cannella died of asphyxiation caused by strangulation after she disappeared from her family’s Bullhead City home with 26-year-old Justin James Rector.

Isabella’s body was found in a shallow grave near her family’s home on Wednesday morning, police said. Rector, a family friend who had been staying at the victim’s house, was charged with murder and kidnapping in Isabella’s death.

A criminal complaint against Rector has yet to be filed, and the Mohave County attorney’s office did not respond to requests for comment Friday.

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