Rector (1)An autopsy report in a high profile Arizona child murder case is now public, but it provides no new information in the early September death of eight year-old Isabella “Bella” Grogan-Cannella in Bullhead City. Mohave County Superior Court Judge Lee Jantzen directed the Mohave County Attorney’s Office to release the report to the media, though he cited privacy and decency considerations in sealing autopsy photos. The report of the autopsy conducted by Mohave County Medical Examiner Dr. Rexene Worrell said that Bella was asphyxiated. The report, however, provided no insight as to how she was strangled. Dr. Worrell’s report made no conclusion as to sexual assault either, but noted that there was a hemorrhage within the vaginal wall of the victim. The Mohave County Attorney’s office declines any comment on the autopsy or DNA results that were made available to investigators and prosecutors weeks ago. No sex offense-related counts are filed, though kidnapping and first degree murder charges are in play in the case against Justin Rector, 27. The Bullhead City man has been described as a friend of the victim’s mother, but their relationship has not yet been defined by authorities. Bella’s mother and stepfather face prosecution for drug-related offenses allegedly committed after the homicide. Rector’s previous request to represent himself in legal proceedings was withdrawn during a December 9 hearing. Public Defender Harry Moore is serving as lead counsel, though another defense attorney must be appointed under Arizona law.
The state has indicated it will seek the death penalty if Rector is convicted. He is held without bail in the Mohave County jail in Kingman and his next court appearance is scheduled February 4.