Jenise Wright: Who is to blame for her death?

UPDATE 8/11/14:  The name Gabe Gaeta has come out on social media as the person who has been arrested for the murder of Jenise Wright, by a relative on Facebook that was defending him.  It is hard to believe after learning more about him and reading his posts that he had anything to do with it.

A unsubstantiated post read that neighbors had also let his name out, “His neighbors who saw him arrested leaked his name as well, and there is talk that he attended her vigil in fake mourning, and that this was a planned attack with a second male accomplice…the press release said he confessed already as well…” 

I have not seen or read any press release. 

Gabe is also a member of Ask.FM and has left a string of comments there since last year.  One quote from his account is, “What is the most dangerous animal? Me” and

“If someone wrote a biography about you, what do you think the title should be?
Gabe Gaeta.”  A lot of comments that shows a young man talking a lot of bravado.  Whether it was meant to impress or intimidate is hard to know. 

Gabe was a wrestler and you can click here to read an article and see a photo of him and his brother Zeke.

There is a lot more to this story I am sure.  I believe there are more surprises to come.

Gabe looks more like a high schooler here in this photo.

Previous story: 

Although no one has been named as the killer of missing 6-year-old East Bremerton girl, Jenise Wright, whose body was found yesterday in a wooded area near the Steele Creek Mobile Home Park, many will blame her parents.

Some will outright accuse the parents for having a hand in her death, while others will blame them because they did not supervise their daughter and let her run wild through the mobile home park.

Jenise Wright was found in the woods close to
her home

Not so long ago, in the grand scope of the age of the world, but a life time for some, children running wild through a neighborhood was what ever parent let their child do.  I remember my beloved aunt would nod her head and take a sip of her scotch and briefly wave at my cousin’s and I as we yelled in passing that we would be back later.  We were never asked where we were going or when we would be back.

Another friend of mine, had a completely different upbringing and was required to have their mother watch them walk down the street to a friends house or ride their bicycle.  Many neighborhood kids snickered at him and neighborhood parents, ts-tsked and shook their heads that the boy would grow up a sissy as his mother was over-protective.

Around this time, Harper Lee wrote a book about a brother and sister and next door neighbor that ran the neighborhood  in the deep south in the mid 1930’s.  No one thought it odd that the children in the book and subsequently the movie that came later, were out the door running the neighborhood till the sun came down.   

About a decade later, things began to change.  Maybe it was the disappearance of Etan Patz, or the kidnapping of Steven Stayner, who reemerged in 1980, or the case of Adam Walsh that was abducted while his parents were shopping, that made parent’s wary of letting their children run lose. 

Etan Patz walked to the bus stop
alone while his mom watched.  He
went missing along the way and has
never been found.

Parents began to watch where they went and scrutinized the parents of their friends, and becoming what used to be called over-protective. Now it was being called a responsible parent.

Parents began walking with their children during Halloween and to and fro from school.  July became quiet as children of the summer replaced bicycles with XBoxes.  As computer games and game consoles grew in popularity, less children were playing outside.  The age of video games seemed to arrive just in time to keep a child safe and inside the home and it was accepted and perhaps welcomed by many relieved parents, who were worried that their child might be snatched when their back was turned.

Jenise, whose wandering throughout the neighborhood would have been a normal thing decades back, is now thought to be wrong. 

In a recent study done in the last two-years, nearly three-quarters of the parents surveyed said they feared their child may be abducted.  What a thing to have to consider each and every moment of your child’s life.  No wonder we are content with letting them stay inside and play video games.  

Subsequently, social media is finding Jenise’s case strange and it is making them angry because they cannot even fathom why Jenise’s parents did not monitor her.  Why she was so free that they did not call the police till the next day after she went missing.  In other words, why they did not show the same fear as a majority of parents and not worry about her being abducted.

Adam Walsh was abducted at Sears
in Florida while his parents were
shopping.

Remember that human nature tends to blame the victim.  Since Jenise was a child, she will be exonerated and the blame will go to her parents, but should it?

Because they chose to let their child run unsupervised, something that was totally acceptable 40 years ago, and is still acceptable in many parts of the US, do they warrant our finger-pointing?

Shouldn’t the blame be specifically on the person that killed her?  In our society, rape victims are blamed for wearing short skirts or low tops, insisting it caused a rapist to act.  Doesn’t a person have a right to wear whatever they want, without fear of being singled out or scrutinized for causing someone to act our violently?  Would the rapist not have attacked them if they were wearing modest clothing?  Unlikely, they would have attacked regardless.

Without a doubt, if Jenise would have been kept inside she would still be alive today, but it would not have stopped the murderer.  The murderer would have just chosen another victim.

As angry as we may be that Jenise’s parents let her run free, they did not do it so that she would become a sacrificial lamb, they did it because they admired her free spirit.  They did it because that is the way they grew up.  The thought that she would be snatched was the farthest thing from their mind.  

Were they ignorant?  Not necessarily so, as percentage shows that  in the most recent statistics by the U.S. Dept. of Justice, “only 100 children were kidnapped by nonfamily members in 1999 and half were murdered.”  Of all murdered children under age 5  from 1976-2005, 3% were killed by strangers as compared to 60% killed by their own parents, and the remainder people they know, including friends.  With statistics like that  you could say that kids outside, mingling with strangers, have a better chance of not being murdered.

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Jerrie Dean, who is retired from Federal Law Enforcement, is the Founder of Missing Persons of America.