Reward increased for Orange 4-year-old girl killed 20 years ago
Published 12:32 pm Friday, July 22, 2022
The Texas Department of Public Safety is seeking information in the 2002 slaying of Dannarriah Finley, 4, of Orange.
An increased reward of up to $6,000 is being offered for information that leads to the arrest of those responsible if the tip is received before the next featured cold case is announced.
A $3,000 reward for information leading to an arrest is routinely offered on all cases on the Texas Rangers’ Cold Case website.
On July 4, 2002, Finley was reported missing to the Orange Police Department.
She was last seen alive sleeping in a bedroom at her mother’s house, along with her siblings and cousins.
Three days later, her mostly nude and partially decomposed body was found approximately 27 miles away, near a dredge pipeline ditch off State Highway 82 in Port Arthur, an area known as Pleasure Island.
Despite intensive investigation into what happened to the young girl, DPS officials say this case remains unsolved. Anyone with details regarding the homicide is asked to come forward with information.
To be eligible for cash rewards, tipsters MUST provide information to authorities by calling the Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-252-TIPS (8477).
All tips are anonymous. Individuals can also submit information through the Texas Rangers’ Cold Case website or by phone to the Missing Person Hotline at 1-800-346-3243.
Mark Blanton was the assistant police chief in Port Arthur in 2002 when a pipeline worker found the body of the young girl on Pleasure Island.
The spot was remote.
Blanton said there wasn’t much DNA evidence left at the scene, and a nearby alligator was euthanized.
“I did not want to retire without that case being solved. I still think it’s a solvable case,” said Blanton previously.
The Orange Police Department took charge in the case, with PAPD detectives going to Orange on a regular basis to assist.
In 2016 Blanton retired after 40 years in law enforcement. And to this day, he remains haunted by the cold case.
The crime, investigation
Finley reportedly went missing from her home at 10 a.m. July 4, 2002. She had been kidnapped, raped and brutally murdered.
But evidence was found.
Detectives located a pink, white and yellow flower print sheet they believe was probably used to transfer the body from where she was killed to Pleasure Island.
Finley was positively identified by DNA and, according to news reports, every sex offender in Orange at the time was questioned.
Officials originally did not comment on the condition of Finley’s clothes, or if any were even located.
Former Orange Police Chief Sam Kittrell said at the time that hundreds of pieces of evidence were collected by investigators from different sites. FBI Behavioral Sciences Division and the Bureau’s laboratory in Quantico, Virginia, were assisting with the case.
Finley’s mother told police in Orange that the child was missing and family members checked at relatives’ houses.
Earlier this month, Orange Police Det. Nick Medina said the investigation is active.
“We are at a point where we are waiting on new technology or new investigative measures that may assist in the investigation,” Medina said.
And two decades ago, evidence was preserved for future testing.
“It stays in every investigator’s mind, but not only officers but people in the community. It could have been anybody’s child,” Medina said.