Friend of Family Arrested in Murder of 8-Year-Old Girl

A man has been arrested in connection with the murder of 8-year-old Isabella 'Bella' Grogan-Cannella, who disappeared from her family's home in the middle of the night. Justin James Rector, 26, was reportedly the last person seen with Bella. He was a family friend who had been staying with the girl's family for a few days before her disappearance. The girl's 10-year-old sister said that she had last seen Bella with James around 11:30 p.m. inside their home, but suddenly both of them vanished. The girl was found dead in a shallow grave near the home the next morning.


Suspicion fell swiftly on Rector, who was the last person with Bella at their Bullhead City, Colorado, home, according to her older sister. He became even more suspicious after being caught trying to shoplift clothes from Walmart and trying to hide the clothes he was wearing on the night of the murder. He was arrested for shoplifting and questioned about Bella.

That evening, Rector took to Facebook and denied he was a suspect, writing: "I've been interrogated and cleared no charges and I'm still in touch with the authorities." (His profile has since been removed.)

But soon he was arrested and charged.

Reportedly, Rector was friends with several people in the family, including Bella's mom.

It's unbelievable that you could let someone like this into your house, a trusted family friend, and the next thing you know, he's allegedly kidnapped and murdered your daughter.

It's not even like he could have possibly thought he would get away with it -- this is a man who disappeared with the girl in the middle of the night. Who was last seen with her.

How horrible to know that you may have unwittingly brought the devil into your own home and allowed him to befriend and hang with your child.


Image via Bullhead City Police Dept.

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