Family and friends of a little girl who was found dead in New Mexico are working to get her body home to her father in Wimauma, KRQE reports.
Court documents say 6-year-old Ariana “Jade” Romeo was found on bloody sheets with marijuana and medications near her body.
The Albuquerque Journal reports that the girl was found on a piece of foam in the garage, with no pants or underwear and that there was “damage” to the girl’s genitals.
Rio Rancho police say they’re investigating the death as a homicide. They say an autopsy will be done to determine how Ariana Romeo was killed.
No arrests have been made in the case yet, but detectives have executed search warrants with help from the FBI and residents of the home have been interviewed. Police are also said to have searched for any evidence of child pornography at the home. Multiple tablets and USB drives were seized, according to the search warrant.
Police told the Albuquerque Journal that the girl’s mother was in the home when officers responded to a 911 call Saturday. Neighbors tell KRQE News 13 that Ariana lived at the home with her mother and that “other” older kids were in and out of the home often. Police haven’t said how those kids may be related, just that they were older, but KRQE learned those other minors are now living with family members who aren’t tied to the case.
Ariana’s father, Joseph Romeo lives in Wimauma.
Angela Torn, a friend of the family said Joseph Romeo was quoted about $10,000 to bring Ariana’s body to Florida. She created a GoFundMe page to help the family cover the child’s funeral expenses.
“Ariana Jade was a beautiful child. She loved to play and gallop around bringing up the energy in any room. She was very smart, and loved people very much. She was always sensitive to how other people were feeling, and was very excited about school, learning, and making friends,” Torn said in the post on GoFundMe.