WATONGA — Rosalin Reynolds’ father lived out a parent’s nightmare Wednesday as he frantically searched for his missing daughter, only to find her dead in a field behind the family’s Watonga apartment and a man sprinting away from her body, officials said.
Authorities spent Wednesday combing the field for evidence and interviewing Rosalin’s family members, possible witnesses and the man investigators suspect killed the 8-year-old. James “Icey” Daukei Jr., 20, was arrested on a murder complaint about five hours after Rosalin’s father made his gruesome discovery, Watonga Police Chief John Massey said.
Daukei had not been charged Wednesday and remained in the custody of the Blaine County sheriff, Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation spokeswoman Jessica Brown said. The OSBI is leading the investigation into Rosalin’s death, Brown said.
Girl went missing in early morning
Rosalin’s mother awoke in the early hours Wednesday and discovered her daughter was missing, Brown said. Her parents searched for her throughout their apartment complex at 500 S Leach Ave., knocking on doors and asking neighbors if they’d seen her. Rosalin’s father and two other men searched the nearby field when they found her body about 5 a.m., and a man whom officials identified as Daukei was running away.
Daukei’s mother, Pauline Daukei, 58, said her son and Rosalin’s mother, Erma Daukei, are cousins.
Rosalin had trauma to her body indicating a homicide, Brown said. The state medical examiner had not yet determined the cause of her death Wednesday, spokeswoman Cherokee Ballard said.
Schools were locked down while authorities searched for James Daukei on Wednesday morning, officials said. Officials tracked him to a wooded area about 2
miles north of Watonga along State Highway 8 and arrested him without incident about 9:50 a.m., Massey said.
Authorities were still investigating how and why Rosalin left her apartment, Blaine County Sheriff Rick Ainsworth said.
Law enforcement officials restricted access to Rosalin’s apartment complex Wednesday, keeping media and anyone not living at the complex about a quarter of a mile away from it. Dozens of people at the complex lingered around picnic tables while OSBI and local officials gathered inside crime scene tape in the field behind the complex.
Efforts to reach Rosalin’s family were not successful Wednesday.
Suspect’s mother doubts officials’ story
Daukei’s mother said she tried all day Wednesday without success to speak with her son.