In a live news conference in Savannah, police spokesmen today confirmed that the body discovered yesterday on the city's waterfront is that of missing 12-year-old Ashleigh Moore.
"I want to thank you for the patience that you've exhibited over the last three or four weeks of this investigation," said spokesman Bucky Burnsed. "As you may have surmised by now, this investigation has not come out as successful as we had hoped. It was our intent from the very beginning to bring Ashleigh home safe and sound to her family. That hasn't happened."
Burnsed then turned the conference over to Maj. Willie Lovett, who has been heading up the investigation.
"It is with deep regret that our investigative process did not work out as we expected it in the beginning," he said. "Our sorrow goes out to Ashleigh's family first of all."
Lovett confirmed that the body discovered was that of the missing girl, and stated that a number of pieces of evidence had indicated to investigators that this would be the case. The body was discovered by a fisherman on the river, he said, but would not go into detail about whether it was found in the water or on shore. He declined to comment on whether Ashleigh was killed there or whether the body was placed there after her death.
"However, at this point we're continuing the investigation," he said. "As far as suspects are concerned, we do have what we consider to be suspects. However, we're not going to leave it at just saying we have a suspect. There are a number of suspects, and until we clear every one of them, there will continue to be."
Maj. Lovett said the family of Ashleigh Moore was informed this morning by two investigators and the police chaplain.
He would not go into detail about the nature of the tip that led investigators to search the area around where the body was ultimately found, saying, "It simply said that the body was around in that area."
Ashleigh Moore had been missing for nearly a month.