Human remains discovered in a rural area near DeWitt, Iowa last week have been identified as Breasia Terrell, Davenport Police Chief Paul Sikorski announced at a press conference on Wednesday.
The 10-year-old has been missing since July 2020.
"This news is heartbreaking," Chief Sikorski said Wednesday, as he choked back tears. “To both Breasia’s family and our Davenport community.”
According to Chief Sikorski, the girl’s remains were located by two fishermen near an access road off 270th Avenue near DeWitt about 20 miles north of Davenport, on Monday, March 22, 2021.
A homicide investigation is underway, but Chief Sikorski said Wednesday there is no timeline for possible criminal charges and no suspect has been named.
Breasia, known to her family as “Bree,” was featured in Dateline’s “Missing in America” online series last summer shortly after she disappeared from Davenport in the early hours of Friday, July 10.
Her mother, Aishia Lankford, told Dateline that Breasia was spending the night with her half-brother, Aishia’s 8-year-old son, at the home of his father, Henry Dinkins.
“Bree texted me and said, “Goodnight, Mama, I love you,’” Aishia said. “And that’s the last time I heard from her.”
The next morning, Dinkins called with the news that when he woke up, Breasia was gone.
After Breasia was reported missing, a search warrant was executed at the home of Henry Dinkins, and the 47-year-old was arrested and charged with second-offense sex offender registration violation and a probation violation, according to the criminal complaint filed in Scott County District Court. In December 2020, a judge ruled that Dinkins, who had been convicted of a sex crime in 1990, remain in jail.
On Wednesday, Chief Sikorski told reporters that Dinkins remains in jail on the charges, which are unrelated to Breasia. The chief added that Dinkins is considered a person of interest in Breasia’s case, although he has not been named a suspect.
“This investigation continues to be a joint investigation by the Davenport Police Department, the Division of Criminal Investigations from the Iowa Department of Public Safety and our partners at the FBI,” Chief Sikorski said at the press conference. “I can assure our community that investigators are working diligently to bring justice on Breasia’s behalf. Again, they have been nonstop for the last nine months. I want to assure our community that when we are able to share details on this investigation we will.”
A message from the family was posted on the Help Find Breasia Terrell - Missing Davenport Iowa Facebook page that read, “Words cannot describe the heartache and emptiness that we feel now that police have confirmed the remains located in DeWitt, Iowa are Breasia. Our love for Breasia has gotten us through the past nine months and will continue to see us through as we fight for justice. We want to thank the community, law enforcement, friends and family who have put in countless hours to help bring Bree home. We ask for privacy as we grieve the loss of our daughter, sister and friend. Our focus will now be on seeking answers to what happened on the night she was last seen.”
The Davenport Police Department continues to ask for the public’s help in the case and asks anyone with information that could lead to an arrest in Breasia’s murder to call (563) 326-6125.