Wednesday, April 21, 2004
Dead girl identified in Calif. may have link to PTC
By JOHN MUNFORD
Police say they have identified a girl who was found murdered three months ago in Santa Ana, Calif., and may have previously lived in Peachtree City.
Hanna Denise Montessori, 15, was found in the middle of the street with head trauma by police officers responding to a call at 6:45 p.m. Jan. 19, said Sgt. Carlos Rojas of the Santa Ana Police Department. She was taken to a local hospital where she was pronounced dead, Rojas said.
Police believe Montessori had run away from a group home in Cobb County in September 2003.
The only link to Peachtree City, however, was an acquaintance of Montessori, who didnt know her name but told police she recalled Montessori saying at one time that she used to live in Peachtree City.
The acquaintance came forward after seeing media accounts of the incident that included a photo of Montessori, Rojas said.
The tip led Santa Ana police to speak with a sergeant with the Peachtree City Police Department, who got the photograph circulated in Georgia which ultimately led to Montessori being identified, Rojas said. The Fayette County Sheriffs Department also assisted in the process, Rojas said.
Peachtree City police checked several years of local high school annuals in an attempt to determine the girls identity before it was learned she used to live in Cobb County, police said.
The girls photograph was also published on the Web site for the Center for Missing and Exploited Children, police said.
Rojas said Santa Ana police are hopeful that Montessoris identity will lead to further clues in the case, which is still being actively investigated.
Its a very big break, Rojas said. Obviously it opens up the possibility of getting more leads and information we can look into.
The department is hopeful that new information will lead them to Montessoris killer.
When the informant told Santa Ana officers that Montessori once told her she used to live in Peachtree City, we actually didnt think it existed, Rojas said.
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