It will take the community to solve the killing of a 13-year-old Rosemont girl, say Sacramento County sheriff's officials.
"I hate to sound desperate, but we kind of are at this point," Sgt. Jim Barnes, head of the homicide unit, told Rosemont residents during a community meeting Thursday night.
More than 200 people packed the sanctuary of the Atonement Lutheran Church, a few blocks from Rosemont Community Park where the body of eighth-grader Jessica Funk-Haslam was found in a baseball dugout Tuesday morning. The crowd was much larger than sheriff's officials had expected, filling the pews and choir loft, and overflowing into the foyer.
Barnes said officers had knocked on the doors of more than 250 homes in the neighborhood seeking leads in the case.
"We need that needle in the haystack to let us know what happened," he said.
Officials urged parents to talk with their children and to report any information, whether anecdotal or rumor, that might relate to the case.
Residents said they were eager to help. Although many came to the meeting to learn about the homicide investigation, they also talked about what they could do to watch out for each other and neighborhood children. Some requested an extra sheriff's patrol when children are going to and from school. Others suggested parents join together to provide carpools or walk groups of children.
Resident Debbie Parr said before the meeting that she and her husband came to show support for the Funk-Haslam family and the community.
"We raised our kids here and are still raising our grandchildren here," Parr said, adding that her nieces and nephews go to Rosemont Community Park every day.
The Sacramento County Coroner's Office announced Thursday that Funk-Haslam died as the result of blunt force trauma, asphyxia and a stab wound to the neck.
Officials there declined to elaborate on the asphyxia finding. Deputy Jason Ramos, spokesman for the Sheriff's Department, said detectives have not yet determined what led to that finding. As for the stab wound, Ramos said detectives believe an edged weapon was used, but that they are not speculating further.
Jessica was last seen by her mother, Tara Funk-Haslam, about 5:30 p.m. Monday. The girl had wanted to go see somebody, but she would not say who, and her mother was concerned about her being out after dark. The girl left anyway.
Anyone with information about the case can call Crime Alert at (916) 443-4357, or the Sheriff's Department dispatch center, (916) 874-5115, or text a tip to 274637, then enter SACTIP and the tip information.