DETROIT (WXYZ) - Action News has learned that officials have matched the DNA of a burned body with that of missing 5-year-old Detroit girl Mariha Smith.
Officials say the family has been notified of the development.
Mariha Smith disappeared from her home on Burlingame in Detroit early Sunday morning. A few hours later the burned body of a child was found in a vacant house on Waverly about a mile away.
Until now police have treated the two incidents as separate cases.
On Thursday police issued a blurry piece of surveillance video asking for the public's help to find a man believed connected to the arson case. Calling him a person of interest, police say he was seen at a gas station at Dexter and W. Davidson.
The Detroit Police Department issued the following statement:
On Sunday, July 24, 2011, the Detroit Police Department began investigating the case involving the arson fire of a home located in the 2900 block of Waverly, where the body of a child was found; and with the assistance of the Southeast Michigan Crimes Against Children Task Force began searching for 5-year-old Mariha Smith, who was missing from a home located in the 3800 Burlingame.
Today, July 29, 2011, the Detroit Police Department received the results of the DNA testing from the Michigan State Police crime lab.
The results determined that the burned remains of the child found is Mariha Smith.
The Detroit Police Department's Homicide unit will continue a through investigation into the death of Mariha Smth. If anyone should have any information on the Arson case, please call the Homicide unit at 596-2260 or Crime Stoppers (anonymously) at 1-800-SPEAK-UP.
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