Two Niagara Falls teenagers have been charged in the shocking death of a five-year-old Cheektowaga girl who was staying on Sixth Street with her great grandmother and whose body was found in a trash can Monday in an alley off Third Street shortly after she had been reported missing.
Sixteen-year-old John Freeman, a family friend, has been charged with murder and his close friend, Tyler Best, 18, faces tampering charges.
Freeman reportedly confessed to killing Isabella Sarah Tennant after Best led police to where the little girl's body had been stuffed into the garbage can a few hours after she had been reported missing.
Mayor Paul Dyster had told the Reporter earlier that the community was taking the murder of the little girl very hard.
Dyster said the teenager, now identified as Freeman, had been with the girl after her great grandmother went to bed Sunday night and was regarded as a trusted family friend. The great grandmother reported the girl missing early Monday morning and police later recovered the child’s body with the help of the second teenager, Best, who came forward shortly after police had begun combing the area their search for Isabella.
“It was certainly not the end we wanted,” said the mayor, but he credited police for their quick work in recovering the child’s body just as the community was mobilizing to help find the little girl as word quickly spread of a missing child.
Council President Sam Fruscione said his daughter had been a babysitter for Isabella only a couple of weeks ago and he described her as a really nice little girl. “It’s just a horrible tragedy,” said Fruscione, joining with the mayor in condemning the violence that led to the child’s death.
Mark O’Farrell, one of the co-owners of the Players Lounge on Niagara St., said he and his partner, Jerry Alaimo, had been prepared to offer a $2,000 reward for information about the missing girl before the quick action by police made that unnecessary.
“Everybody loved that kid and she comes from a great family,” O’Farrell told the Reporter. “We are all shocked. We just can’t believe it happened.”
An autopsy is expected to be performed today to determine the exact cause of death.