One Year Later, Prosecutors Still Awaiting Evidence in Janaya Thompson Case

It’s been exactly one year since 5-year-old Janaya Thompson of Gulfport went missing and her body was found the next day. It was a horrifying story that broke the hearts of the Gulf Coast community.
You may recall dozens of balloons and stuffed animals memorializing a tragic death that sent horror through the Gulf Coast community, the kidnapping and murder of 5-year-old Janaya Thompson. One year later, her murder case has yet to go to trial. The District Attorney’s Office continues to await forensic evidence from the FBI. Assistant District Attorney for Harrison County Crosby Parker said, “In a case like this, it’s tough and it’s difficult to be patient, but the forensic testing in a case like this is of the utmost importance to ensure that we get justice in the end.”
The road to justice began with the arrest of Alberto Garcia, taken into custody shortly after Janaya’s death. And eventually, he was charged with capital murder after admitting to police he sexually assaulted Janaya, and strangled her with a pair of socks. The second suspect, Julian Gray is being held on separate child pornography charges. The return of additional evidence could convict him as well. “All of the facts and circumstances surrounding Alberto Garcia and Julian Gray, they’re going to be presented to the grand jury for review,” said Parker.
Gulfport Police Chief Leonard Papania says keep his emotions bay was difficult, given the gruesome nature of Janaya’s murder. He commends his department for detaining these two men shortly after finding Janaya’s body. “I cannot sing the praises enough of our investigators and those who handled the evidence, did the interviews and their ability to stomach that,” said Papania.
And while a year may seem like a long time on the path to closure for Janaya’s family, Chief Papania says he doesn’t think anything can make the pain go away. “By no means do I think meeting the greatest success in the court will have remedied everything that happened. Lives were literally destroyed.”
As for now, police and prosecutors continue their work, as the community awaits justice for Janaya.
Prosecutors tell News 25 they hope this case will be seen by a grand jury in the near future.

Categories: Local News, News

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