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WEST JORDAN — Police are investigating the death of a 6-year-old girl, who was found dead in a canal near her home Tuesday morning.
Police are calling her death "suspicious" and a possible homicide. It occurred in the same neighborhood where a fire destroyed two houses on Saturday.
Just before 7:30 a.m., the girl's family called police to report that she was missing from her home at 2383 W. 7095 South. Officers started searching the area and soon found her in a canal, not far from her home, said West Jordan Police Sgt. Drew Sanders.
She was dead at the scene, but Sanders declined to talk about the condition of her body or whether she had any obvious injuries.
We're getting all kinds of information. We have to sort through all that. We don't know what it means yet.
–West Jordan Police Sgt. Drew Sanders
"We have to be careful about what goes out because misinformation can be harmful," he said.
The child's body will be taken to the medical examiner for an autopsy. Her name had not yet been released.
Claire Evenson, a neighbor whose daughter is a close friend of the girl, described the child as smart and full of life.
"She was going to start first grade with my daughter," Evenson said. "They were so excited for that."
The young girl loved to dance and play dress up. Evenson said the residents of the neighborhood are close and the 6-year-old girl would always include everyone while playing with the children who lived nearby.
"This is just hard for everyone to wrap their mind around," Evenson said.
Another neighbor, Bryan Gaisford, said he would remember the 6-year-old girl for her smile.
"I didn't know her too well, but she was always smiling, always running around," Gaisford said.
This is just hard for everyone to wrap their mind around.
The death occurred in the same neighborhood where a fire burned two homes on Saturday. Both homes were destroyed after a tree fell on a power line, which sparked a fire in a field behind the homes. Wind and heat then spread the flames to the homes and created difficult conditions for firefighters.
"This neighborhood has been through a lot," Gaisford said Tuesday.
The girl lives a block away from West Jordan Elementary School, but police said on Twitter that the death had nothing to do with the school.
"While the child lives in a neighborhood, rumors that part of this incident occurred at WJ Elem are FALSE. No known danger to the public. Will share more as facts are known," the tweet stated.
Sanders said police do not have any suspects but are following up on a number of leads. He said police have received "all sorts of tips," which he described as typical at this stage of an investigation.
"We're getting all kinds of information," Sanders said. "We have to sort through all that. We don't know what it means yet."