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Witnesses sought in slaying of girl found in softball dugout

March 16, 2012 |  1:23 pm

Photo: Jessica Funk-Haslam. Credit: Fox 40 Sacramento

Authorities are hoping members of the public can help them locate the killer of a 13-year-old girl who was found dead last week near a softball dugout in a park.

"There were people in the park that at least saw Jessica there if not witnessed what had occurred," said detective Tony Turnbull of the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department.

Investigators say that after Jessica Funk-Haslam got in an argument with her mother and left her home, she boarded a nearby light rail train, then transferred to a bus. She got off near Rosemont Community Park and spent time with someone she knew, police said.

Police have released surveillance video from a neighbor near the park showing a suspicious man running away from the park along Rosemont Drive toward Mayhew Road about the time Jessica was killed. It showed him ducking down a side street when a car approached.

Video from the middle school shows that at least five people walked through Rosemont Park while Jessica was there. Police would like to talk to these people. They were in the park between 6:30 and 9 p.m. on the night of March 4.

"I think she was there for some period of time with somebody she knew and was comfortable with," Turnbull said.

Authorities say homeowners next to the park heard screams in the park between 8 and 9 p.m. and then a male voice.

"A very short duration scream of two to three seconds and was unlike any other playful scream," Turnbull said.

The 13-year-old girl had trauma to her head, a stab wound to her neck, and had been asphyxiated. She was found dead March 5.


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-- Lonnie Wong, Fox 40 News

Photo: Jessica Funk-Haslam. Credit: Fox 40 Sacramento