Police officers from Branson, Taney County, Missouri, have arrested a 55-year-old man identified as John P. Roberts in connection with the killing of Jasmine Miller, a 6-year-old girl who lived in the same motel where he did.
According to ABC News, Roberts was charged with first-degree murder and was jailed without bond after Jasmine Miller's body was recovered from his room on Saturday. According to News-Leader, Jasmine's body was recovered from underneath a bed in Roberts' room in the Windsor Inn motel, where he was staying alone.
According to Taney County prosecutor Jeffrey Merrell, Jasmine Miller's body was recovered after police received a lost child report and decided to scourge the area looking for her. According to Merrel, Jasmine Miller lived in the same motel with her family as part of an extended stay arrangement with the motel.
"My understanding is that this was an extended stay motel and that this was a temporary living arrangement," he said.
According to Fox 4 KC, Jasmine Miller was strangled to death by Roberts. Strangely, there seems to be no clarity on the motive behind Jasmine's brutal killing. Roberts allegedly lured Jasmine into his room by promising her with sweets and snacks.
A child described by her friends to be a "beautiful and kind-hearted girl," Jasmine was a kindergarten student at the Cedar Ridge Primary School in Branson. In fact, she had only recently moved to Branson and had joined school on February 11. According to Shelly Worley, principal of Cedar Ridge, Jasmine had only attended five days at school but had already made friends there.
Meanwhile, following the news of Jasmine's death, a crisis team was formed at the school to help her classmates and teachers. A candle-light vigil is also being planned in Jasmine Miller's memory at Botanas Restaurant for Saturday 5 p.m. A GoFundMe campaign has also been set up to meet the expenses of Jasmine's funeral.
As for Roberts, it is now known that he was arrested just last month on felony and burglary charges and has a string of criminal charges against him. He was accused of entering a room and stealing $70 from there on January 23. He was released on bond after his brother posted a cash bail of $171. Back in 2002, he was arrested for possession of a controlled substance, and from 1994 to 1999, he was on probation for second-degree assault.
The news about Jasmine Miller's brutal killing comes at a time when several cases of cruelty against children are being reported across the U.S.
[Image Via Taney County Jail, News-Leader]