Solving the slaying of Chalisa Lewis, 14, of Bremerton is going to come down to straightforward detective work, Bremerton police say.
Police, who have no specific suspect, will turn to "good, old-fashioned talking to people" to develop leads in the case, said Bremerton police Sgt. Kevin Long.
The teen, whose death is classified as a homicide, disappeared Feb. 2 after getting off a school bus at her grandmother's house at Ninth Street and Pacific Avenue in a small, quiet neighborhood. She left her school bag at her grandmother's and was not seen again until her body was discovered Feb. 23 on the beach at Seattle's Discovery Park.
Lewis, an eighth-grade student at Bremerton Junior High, drowned, according to the King County Medical Examiner's office.
Seattle police detectives suspect the girl was dumped in the water, probably in Kitsap County, and that her body was moved by Puget Sound currents to Seattle.
"Our preliminary investigation with tide charts and water-flow charts from NOAA (the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) give us a real good preliminary understanding that it's not only feasible, but very likely," Seattle police Capt. Larry Farrar said.
Bremerton police are trying to determine what happened during a 2 1/2-hour period on the day Lewis disappeared.
"We feel she disappeared sometime between 2:30 and 5 p.m.," Long said.
Her attacker probably was not a stranger because "there is no
indication she was meek or shy," Long said. "She was outgoing and would have fought if something like that was going on.
"It seems most likely she voluntarily got into the car."
Tracking dogs lost the girl's scent a short distance from the grandmother's house, another indication she got into a vehicle, Long said.
The girl has no history of being a runaway, Long said.
Bremerton police have given polygraph tests to several people, but Long would not discuss who was tested or the results.
It's a sorrowful time at Bremerton Junior High.
"We're all very, very sad," said principal Judy Mackey. "She was a very quiet, nice, sweet little girl."
The FBI is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of a suspect or suspects.