An emotional crowd of hundreds gathered in Fairfield Friday night to remember 13 year old Genelle Conway-Allen.
The middle school student was found dead a week ago. Her foster mother sobbed at the memorial site clutching a photo of the girl.
Her biological father Josh Allen fought back tears saying, "She was a sweetheart." Allen hasn't seen his daughter in a year but says, "She was very loving and active loved sports."
Conway-Allen's father says, "Genelle's death is still sinking in but the craziness is everywhere."
Fairfield police on Friday said they had arrested a 32-year-old Fairfield man whom they had been suspicious of from the start in connection with the high-profile case of a slain 13-year-old, whose naked body was found in a park last week.
At a news conference, police identified Anthony Lamar Jones in connection with the death of Gennelle Conway Allen. They didn't provide details of the evidence they said they had against him. They said he was arrested about 7 a.m. on Friday in the 1100 block of E. Tabor Avenue.
Sgt. Matt Bloesch did say though, that Jones, had been identified "early on" as a suspect, and since then had been under 24-hour surveillance, round the clock. He said police believe Jones acted alone.
The school sent a recorded message to parents Friday. Listen to it here.
More details may be released when Jones is formally charged by the Solano County District Attorney's Office.
The brutal death of Genelle has captured the hearts and minds of many in the Bay Area, after her body was found at Allan Witt Park on Feb. 1. The Suisun City girl was last seen alive when she took a bus home from Green Valley Middle School the day before; a video camera caught an image of her talking on a cell phone wearing a pink Hello Kitty backpack. She lived in foster care with her brother.
Until Friday, police were tight-lipped about the case, saying that it was crucial much of the information stay secret until the killer was caught.
The girl's family has not spoken publicly, but did issue a statement released on Friday. The statement from Linda August, representing the girl's foster family, reads:
“I am so overwhelmed with emotion I don’t know if I can speak. First, I want to thank the Fairfield Police Force SO much for bringing this person to justice. All of us were so anxious for our children and community. Thank you for working so hard to make our community safe.
Second, I need to thank EVERYONE who showed Genelle and our family so much love and support, building the memorial and in so many ways. We will never be able to thank you enough. We also want to thank the staff at Alternative Family Services, our foster care agency, for being with us through the entire ordeal.
Finally, with tears in our hearts, we can now begin to say goodbye to sweet Genelle. Genelle, we love you so much. We always will. May you find peace forever. We will always, always love you.”
Funeral services for the 13 year old are still being planned.