Strangled Girl Was Seen in Neighborhood: Cops

By Steve Bryant
|  Tuesday, Dec 1, 2009  |  Updated 6:30 PM CDT
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Girl's Body Found in Alley Blocks from Home

Jahmeshia Conner, a fifth grader at O'Toole Elementary School, was last seen Nov. 15.
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The 12-year-old girl found strangled Monday morning in a South Side alley was seen by witnesses in her home's neighborhood while she was classified as a missing person, police said Tuesday.

The death of Jahmeshia Conner, a fifth grader at O'Toole Elementary School, was ruled a strangulation by the Cook County medical examiner's office Tuesday afternoon.

"She was last seen in several locations around her home," said Steve Peterson, Deputy Supt. Bureau of Investigative Services, adding that police have requested video from private and public sources to corroborate witness claims.

"Who she was with we're not going to divulge," Peterson said, adding that "some of this was third hand information."

Conner's last sighting before her disappearance was Nov. 15th at a bus stop. She'd attended choir practice that day and paid a visit to her aunt.

Peterson also fielded several questions regarding the police department's handling of the case. Peterson repeatedly claimed that Conner was classified as a missing person -- not a juvenile runaway -- when she was first reported missing Nov. 16th.

Reporters also questioned Peterson about several fliers distributed in connection with Conner's death. Peterson maintained that the CPD distributed only one flier, and that the flier was a missing persons flier.

Conner was found Monday morning when a passerby saw her body laying in an alley in the 6400 block of South Marshfield, just blocks away from her home.

The Cook County Medical Examiner's Office official identified the victim during the autopsy, though her family had given identification after seeing photographs a day earlier, the Chicago Tribune reported.

There's no word on funeral arrangements.

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