SAGINAW –– Authorities spent Monday night and all day Tuesday investigating at a Saginaw home where a child was reported missing. Investigators also searched the location more than a mile north where a body of a young girl was found bound and gagged inside a tarp.
The FBI and Texas Rangers moved in to assist the investigation shortly after 10 p.m. and focused their probe at the victim's home in the 600 block of Babbling Brook Dr. Police said the FBI was brought in to help preserve evidence.
Parents at the home reported their child missing at 9:15 p.m., about an hour after two teens discovered the body on a Parkwest neighborhood road.
John Smith, one of two teens who discovered the young girl's body, said he was riding scooters with his cousin when they spotted the tarp at the intersection of Cindy Ln. and Round Rock Dr. at about 7:30 p.m.
"We thought it was a bag of trash," he said.
Smith, 18, said his 14-year-old cousin opened the tarp and found the body of a girl who appeared to be four or five.
"I dropped to my knees crying because I knew it was a little girl," Smith said.
The teens said the girl's hands and feet were tied and a plastic shopping bag was over her head.
"How can somebody hurt a little girl?" said Katie Whiddon, Smith's aunt and the mother of the 14-year-old boy. "Anybody? How can you hurt a little boy, a little girl, adult, anybody? What did she do to deserve to die?"
The Smith and Whiddon family placed a candle and stuffed animals at the site where they found the body after police left the scene.
The collection of items grew larger as residents who never met the girl stopped to add more to the memorial.
"We jog and walk up and down this street and it just breaks my heart," said Pattie Pannell, a resident of the neighborhood, as she wiped away tears.
Investigators questioned neighbors at both scenes.
"I guess everybody left about two or three in the morning," said Rick Radford, who lives across the street from where the body was found.
Radford's garage was wide open all night and investigators looked over every inch of his property.
"This morning they came through and knocked on doors and got statements from everybody," he said.
Authorities have not revealed the identity and age of the child.
While authorities released few other details, Saginaw Officer Damon Ing said residents witnessed a red truck in the area in which authorities were interested in locating. Ing said the truck has a green paint splatter near the right rear tire well.
Anyone with information pertaining to the crime is asked to call a tip line set up by Saginaw police at 682-888-3682 or 682-888-3684.
A vigil will be held at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Saginaw United Methodist Church at 209 S. Blue Bonnet St.
WFAA's Robert Flagg contributed to this report