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How could parents go 24 hours before calling 911 about missing 6-year-old?

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Jenise Paulette Wright was home when her parents went to bed Saturday night, but wasn't there when they woke up Sunday morning. (Kitsap County Sheriff's Department) | Zoom
The parents of a missing 6-year-old girl in Bremerton have taken a lie detector test and allowed a search of the home. Kitsap County Deputy Scott Wilson doubted he would be able to discuss results.

Officials believe the test and search could help the investigation into the disappearance of their daughter, which deputies now describe as "suspicious."

The FBI has also joined in the search and has set up a tip line to collect leads. 1-800-call-FBI. Searchers are using the hashtag #findjenise on Twitter.

With the searching continuing for Jenise Paulette Wright, 6, who disappeared from home over the weekend, KIRO Radio's Don O'Neill is among those baffled by the parents who failed to call 911 until nearly 24 hours after she was last seen.

Wright was home when her parents went to bed Saturday night, but wasn't there when they woke up Sunday morning.

Police say the family wasn't worried because the girl had left home in the past on her own or with siblings or friends, but always checked in a few hours later.

The girl's father, Jim Wright, tells KIRO 7 they became concerned when she didn't come home for dinner by 8:30 p.m., and after searching their mobile home park they finally called 911 at 9:55 p.m.

As the parent of a 4 1/2-year-old, Don can't fathom how a family could allow such a young girl to have such freedom, let alone assume she's alright despite disappearing for nearly a day.

"When my son is not close to me [...] I get very, very nervous, even when he's at school," Don says. "I want to know where he's at until he's old enough to have a voice, until he's old enough to take care of himself."

Don says he's particularly troubled by the lack of urgency from family members throughout the day, and wonders whether it's a matter of "really disconnected parents."

"I love the fact that she's six and they were waiting for her to arrive for dinner?!" Don says incredulously. "Because usually on Sundays she takes herself for a stroll, she gives herself a bath, maybe she walks down by the ocean, maybe she liked to go into town, grab the family car, have a cup of coffee, and then she'll go out, hang out with the friends, build a bonfire, they'll make some s'mores, and then at the age of six on Sunday she usually stops back by the family house for dinner."

Jim Wright tells KIRO 7 even though the family didn't call 911 until nearly 10 p.m., he had been searching for hours. But Don is among those questioning what really went on, and how he reacted.

"If that's my 6-year-old and my 6-year-old is missing and I think something horrible has happened to her, and somebody has her, the first thing I'm going to do is step in front of a camera and I'm going to call every reporter," Don says. "I'm going to do every interview, I'm going to call every radio station and I'm going to have buttons already made up. I'm going to have the T-shirt on, it's going to be a picture of her, and boom let's go find her."

While a massive search continues for the little girl, Child Protective Services on Monday removed an 8-year-old boy and 12-year-old girl from the home.

But Don just wonders how the disappearance could have gone on for so long before the parents finally did something about it.

"My mom always knew where we were and it didn't mean that you couldn't go out and play, but if you were missing for like a day at the age of six, I think someone would pick up the phone and call 911 if they were really concerned a little sooner."

Josh Kerns, MyNorthwest.com
Josh Kerns is an award winning reporter/anchor and host of KIRO Radio's Seattle Sounds (Sunday afternoons 5-6p) and a digital content producer for MyNorthwest.com.
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