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'I Can't Hold On To Anger': Grief at Jenise Wright's Funeral

There was sadness but also forgiveness as the family of a Washington state first-grader who was sexually assaulted and killed in a shocking crime laid their little girl to rest Saturday, with the child’s father saying “I can’t hold on to anger.”

The parents of Jenise Wright, the 6-year-old who went missing Aug. 2 and was found dead in the woods near her Bremerton, Wash., mobile home park four days later, were composed and did not cry at the funeral for their little girl Saturday. A family friend, 17-year-old Gabriel Zebediah Gaeta, is charged with murder and sexual assault in the girl’s death.

“I can’t hold on to anger because it will hold me back from being who I am supposed to be and helping my family,” Jenise’s father, James Wright, who has previously said he has forgiven the Gaeta, said before an audience at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Bremerton. “My family is much deeper than I realized when I see the sea of people here today."

Before the service, Melanie Davis, Jenise’s sister, thanked the law enforcement officers from around the state who conducted an exhaustive search for the missing girl. “Jenise was a bright star in our lives. And words cannot describe the profound loss we feel,” she said. Gaeta is being held on $1 million bond is charged with murder and the rape of a child.

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IN-DEPTH

— Diane Duthweiler