Sex Offender Charged with Murder Weeks After Missing Iowa Girl, 10, Was Found Dead
Breasia Terrell went missing in July 2020 after staying overnight with her half-brother's father, say authorities
A registered sex offender is charged with murder in connection with the 2020 death of 10-year-old Breasia Terrell, whose remains were found in March.
Henry Earl Dinkins, 48, who had been a person of interest in the case since the little girl went missing in July 2020, is charged with first-degree murder and kidnapping, Scott County Attorney Michael Walton announced at a press conference Wednesday.
Authorities would not comment on an alleged motive for the slaying because it pertains to "investigative information," the Des Moines Register reports.
The charges against Dinkins come after the remains of Breasia were found on March 22 in DeWitt.
Breasia was reported missing on July 10, 2020. She was last seen that morning at the apartment complex where Dinkins lived, say authorities.
She and her half-brother, who is Dinkins' son, were staying at Dinkins' apartment in Davenport when she vanished. Dinkins allegedly fatally shot Breasia during that overnight stay, say authorities.
The last time Breasia's mother, Aishia Lankford, heard from her daughter was when she texted her on Dinkins' cell phone to say goodnight to her, the Des Moines Register reports.
Lankford told the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier that Dinkins, the father of another of her children, had been her boyfriend almost a decade ago.
"I was with [Dinkins] and then I found out about him. He was weird," Lankford told the Falls Courier.
On the night her daughter vanished, "Breasia was with her brother," Lankford told the outlet. "And he was visiting his father. I never imagined I would be here talking about this."
She searched tirelessly for her daughter after she vanished.
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Shortly after Breasia vanished, Dinkins was arrested and charged with allegedly violating sex offender registry requirements, the Des Moines Register reports.
Dinkins, who was convicted of third-degree sexual abuse in 1990, pleaded not guilty to the registry violations.
He remains held in the Clinton County Jail. He has not yet entered a plea on the charges related to Breasia's case.
If he is convicted of first-degree murder, he will be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole, which is a mandatory sentence in Iowa, the Des Moines Register reports.
It is unclear whether he has retained an attorney who can speak on his behalf, since he had wanted to represent himself in his sex offender registry violations case, the Des Moines Register reports.