Niagara Gazette

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August 27, 2012

Two teens charged in child murder

Niagara Gazette — It was a grisly discovery.

In a trash bag, buried in a garbage can in the 500 block alley of Third Street, Falls cops found the body of a little girl who been reported missing just hours earlier on Monday morning.

By mid-afternoon Monday, detectives said they were ready to charge one 16-year-old boy with Isabella Sarah Tennant's slaying and another teen with helping dispose of the body.

"It's a terrible crime. It tears at your heart," said Capt. William Thomson, the veteran commander of the Criminal Investigation Division. "I have grandchildren that are the age of the victim."

Early Monday evening, police confirmed that they had charged John Freeman, 16, 422 Sixth St., with second-degree murder.

Investigators said they charged Tyler Best, 18, 193 Banard St., Buffalo, with tampering with evidence. Police said Best has been staying at Freeman's Sixth Street home for the past year.

The pair will be arraigned on the charges in Falls City Court later this morning.

The tragedy began unfolding about 6:20 a.m., when patrol officers were called to a home in the 400 block of Sixth Street for a report of a missing 5-year-old. The great grandmother of Isabella told police the child had disappeared overnight.

"The great grandmother said she went to bed at 10:30 p.m. and left the 5-year-old with (Freeman)," Thomson said. 

Members of Isabella's family told investigators that Freeman was a "close" and "trusted" family friend and that it was not uncommon for him to be in the great grandmother's home and around the little girl without supervision.

While detectives located Freeman and questioned him, Falls Police patrol officers began an intensive search for Tennant. 

In addition to flooding the South End with officers, police also brought in a search dog from the Niagara County Sheriff's Office. Three hours after the search began, investigators got a huge break in the case.

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