A brutally disfigured body discovered in a dumpster may be that of a 7-year-old girl who went missing at her family's apartment complex in Canton, Ga., investigators told reporters today.
"This is going to be a very, very horrendous crime. I am convinced of that after having observed the body," Georgia Bureau of Investigation director Vernon Keenan said. "A child who dies under extreme violence is absolutely the worst thing that can happen to a human being."
The body, thought to be missing girl Jorelys Rivera, was badly beaten and sexually assaulted, Keenan said. Autopsy results, still pending, will confirm the identity and cause of death.
Keenan said the body was discovered around 12:30 p.m. today.
Canton Police Chief Jeff Lance told reporters, "What we need is help from the public -- that's the key to this right now."
Authorities had searched a mile and a half radius from the River Ridge apartment community where Jorelys lived with her mother, enlisting the help of state officers specially trained in child abductions before finally narrowing their search to one dumpster at the complex.
Today they took the dumpster to a barren field and emptied it there, pulling a body from the trash.
Now investigators are asking for the public's help in finding the person responsible.
A $5,000 reward is being offered in the hopes of generating more leads.
Jorelys was last seen Friday evening at the playground in her apartment complex. She reportedly left to get drinks for her friends and never returned.
GBI spokesman John Bankhead told The Associated Press officers will continue checking with sex offenders in the area.
Anyone with information on the case is urged to call 770-704-7074.
ABC News reporter Steve Osunsami contributed to this report.