BULLHEAD CITY, Ariz. — A Bullhead City man facing a murder charge in the slaying of of his friend’s 8-year-old daughter was getting high on methamphetamine before the child was reported missing and later found buried in a shallow grave, according to police records released Tuesday.
Justin Rector, 26, told detectives he had been smoking meth throughout the day in his mother’s upstairs bedroom, according to an affidavit establishing probable cause for the search of the girl’s home. Rector had been staying in a two-story duplex where Isabella “Bella” Grogan-Cannella lived with her mother, Tania Grogan.
Bella went missing after police say she was playing hide and seek with Rector late Sept. 1. Her body was found strangled Sept. 3 about a half mile from her home. Bullhead City police said they found Rector’s shoeprints where she had been buried and that a witness spotted a man who matched Rector’s description in that area.
Police initially arrested Rector Sept. 2 and accused him of shoplifting. Police said he admitted to stealing a change of clothes from a nearby Wal-Mart.
Rector is being held without bond in the Mohave County jail awaiting arraignment Friday on charges of first degree murder, kidnapping, child abuse and abandonment of a dead body.
Mohave County Superior Court Judge Lee Jantzen ruled Monday that reporters will not be allowed to take pictures or make video recordings during Rector’s legal proceedings.