Body found in Riverview identified as missing teen, homicide investigation underway

National Center for Missing & Exploited Children

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — Deputies have identified the human remains that were found in a nature preserve earlier this week in Hillsborough County as a missing 13-year-old girl from Riverview.

Janessa Shannon. (National Center for Missing & Exploited Children)

The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office says a hiker found a badly decomposed body Wednesday morning in a heavily-wooded area of Triple Creek Nature Preserve in Riverview.

Deputies now say they are the remains of 13-year-old Janessa Shannon. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children released information on the Riverview teen on Friday, saying she disappeared July 2 from an undisclosed location.

The sheriff’s office says they are actively working this case as a homicide.

News Channel 8’s Chip Osowski was outside the home of Nashon Shannon, the father of Janessa Shannon. The house was blocked off with crime scene tape.  Several Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office vehicles were on the scene, but investigators would not say exactly what was going on.

Cristal Nunez, a spokeswoman for the sheriff’s office said they were conducting a homicide investigation, and that it was “routine in a homicide investigation to do this.”

When asked if the father was present and cooperating, Nunez told News Channel 8 she hadn’t been told where Nashon Shannon is at this time, but “they don’t tell me everything.”

Phillip Rant lives next door and knew Janessa was missing but hadn’t heard her body was found.

“Only learned that now from you,” he told News Channel 8. “Well, I was wondering what happened, you know what I mean. So we understand that she ran away, that was it.”

“She’s a young child, 13, she had her whole life ahead of her. Her whole life. And now they’re going to go and tell us today that they found her body, ” the victim’s aunt Karen Bennett told News Channel 8’s Chip Osowski this afternoon.

“It’s just hard to talk about right now. She was a good girl. I mean, she was just such an amazing young woman. I love her so much, and my daughter, we all love her so much and I just wish that she could’ve been found before all of this,” said Janessa’s grandmother, Linda Roberts.

We will have more information regarding this case tonight at 11 pm.

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