By Vanessa Medina, Nicole Linsalata, Robbin Simmons, Katrina Bush
LAUDERHILL, Florida (WSVN) — Police have discovered a second body of a juvenile girl in the same Lauderhill canal they found the body of another juvenile girl hours earlier.
Although there are no obvious signs of foul play, police are treating the investigation as a homicide, which centers around a canal along the 5900 block of Northwest 21st Street.
“As detectives started going through the case and started knocking those doors and looking at surveillance cameras, they started realizing that it may be connected to another missing persons case,” Lauderhill Police Lt. Mike Santiago said. “That’s where it led to this evening. Again, we can’t determine at this point if they’re related because the juvenile was just found. However, detectives are trying to piece the puzzle together.”
According to police, the body of a juvenile girl, possibly a teenager, was found in the water, Tuesday afternoon. Police said the girl’s body had been in the water for some time, but it is unclear how long.
“What we know now is not much, and we’re asking for the public’s help,” Santiago said. “The female is described as a Black female and probably pre-teen, wearing short jean shorts with a gray shirt with pink lettering that says ‘Dance.’ She’s under 5 feet tall and was wearing no shoes. She has thick, short hair in twists.”
Hours later, police said they found the body of a second juvenile girl at 8:45 p.m, just east of where the first body was found. They added investigators are trying to determine the identity of the second girl.
Police said they do not have a description of the second body. 7News cameras were there on Tuesday night, as divers entered the water to pull the girl’s body out.
The first body has been taken away from the canal and transferred to the Medical Examiner’s Office to find out the cause of death. Police said they have identified the first body, but they are waiting until they notify the next of kin to release her identity.
“She was transferred over to the Medical Examiner’s Office, and we’re waiting on their findings to determine what exactly happened to her,” Santiago said. “Right now, we don’t have any indication of foul play, but it’s unknown.”
Lawana Johnson spotted the first juvenile girl’s body floating face down with her arms outstretched.
“When I got near it, I said, ‘It’s a little girl,’” Johnson said. “No shoes on, nothing, just a blouse and some shorts. It shocked me. I froze. I started to cry. I’m just not going to leave it and go away. I’m just glad I came out to see what it was.”
“Before we’re able to identify them, we have to positively say, this is in fact this person, and we have to make sure that the next of kin is notified,” said Santiago. “It’s not that we’re not in contact with anybody, we are in contact with people that are not in this area, but again, this is very complicated.”
Amon Hilt, a father of three daughters, said he found the second girl’s body after he came home Tuesday night.
“I had came from my friend’s house, and my other friend had said, ‘Hey man, there’s a body in the lake,’” Hilt said. “I was like, ‘Yeah, I heard about it.’ He was like, ‘No, there’s a body in the lake right now,’ so I was like, ‘What?’ I went over there, and there was a body in the lake, a little girl. I never see nothing like that before in my life.”
Hilt also said his daughter has a shirt like the one the second girl was wearing when she was found.
“I have three little girls and it’s tragic. I ran upstairs real quick and I hugged them,” said Hilt.
The parents of Sanura Domond, another teenager who has been missing since June 15 from Pembroke Pines, showed up to the Lauderhill canal with their daughter’s photo.
“Some of the characteristics on what we found today on the young lady do not match the characteristics of their daughter that’s currently missing,” Santiago said.
Police have cleared the area where the two bodies were found.
“It’s scary. It’s scary, you know, and my kids are freaking out,” neighbor Katie Levance said. “They’re wondering if it’s their friend. For me, somebody is going to come home today, and their daughter is gone. It’s too close to home. It’s too close for comfort to me.”
Investigators said they have cross-referenced every missing person from the girls’ age group, and they have come up empty. They added they have not heard from either girl’s parents.
If you have any information on this case, call Broward County Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a reward of up to $5,000.
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