The man accused of sexually assaulting and then killing his girlfriend's 6-year-old daughter, Jadianna Larsen, before setting her body on fire along a Glenn County road pleaded guilty in Sacramento Superior Court on Wednesday.
Juan Rivera, 25, is scheduled to be sentenced on Aug. 17, the Sacramento County District Attorney's Office said.
In May 2015, Rivera sexually assaulted Jadianna before he killed her with as many as four blows with a blunt instrument, medical examiners testified in January, The Sacramento Bee reported.
He then drove 90 miles north of Sacramento and dumped her body along a rural Glenn County road and burned it. Rivera returned to Sacramento and called 911, reporting the child missing. He told authorities he'd passed out after a series of seizures and when he woke up, Jadianna was gone.
Premium content for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
Her remains were found the day after Rivera reported her missing.
Detectives testified that DNA found on Jadianna's underwear and T-shirts matched Rivera, The Bee reported. Investigators also said that cellular tower pings appeared to track Rivera from south Sacramento to Glenn County and south again to Sacramento.
Rivera's mother, Lisa Burton, pleaded guilty to being an accessory to the murder after the fact because she stole her boyfriend's Ford Explorer and gave it to Rivera to transport Jadianna's body. She was sentenced to three years in prison.
Attorneys for Tenecia Clark, Jadianna's mother, filed a wrongful-death suit in January against Sacramento County, Child Protective Services and others, alleging they failed to protect Jadianna from harm “over the course of her short life.”
Molly Sullivan: 916-321-1176, @SullivanMollyM