A 14-year-old Connecticut boy is accused of sexually assaulting and murdering a 13-year-old girl in June.
Police charged Tristen Martin, of Manchester, Connecticut, with felony murder, first-degree strangulation, first-degree sexual assault and risk of injury to a minor-illegal sexual contact.
Officials said they released Martin’s name, photo, and custody status in accordance with a state law requiring the release of that information for any child that committed a class A felony.
Manchester police responded to a report of an unresponsive girl found in the basement common area of an apartment building at 40 Olcott Street around 8:40 a.m. on June 18. Zaniya Wright, 13, was declared dead on the scene. Her death was ruled a homicide following an autopsy, according to the Vernon Patch.
The medical examiner ruled the cause of her death was compression of the neck, meaning strangulation, according to WTNH 8 News. The girl's mother reported her missing the night before she was found. She reportedly left Zaniya in the care of Martin’s mother, a friend she said she’d known for about 18 years.
A family friend said Wright was a 7th grader at Illing Middle School and had been dealing with bullying, according to WFSB News.
“For all those who knew Zaniya both at school and in the community, this is a heartbreaking and incredibly sad day,” Superintendent of Schools Matt Geary said in a statement.
“Her smile is something that I will truly never forget,” Selina Santos, one of Wright’s former teachers, told journalinquirer.com. “It made other people, including myself, want to smile, too.”
Martin was ordered held at the Hartford Juvenile Detention Center.