An Oregon miner has been charged in the death of a sixth-grade girl who disappeared earlier this month.
On Monday, May 9, 2022, the 13-year-old mother Milana Li reported that her daughter was missing. The next day, the girl is found dead. Her body was found in a small stream in Westside Linear Park near the southern border of Beaverton, Ore.
The victim was last seen alive around 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, May 8, 2022 – the day before he disappeared – at his apartment in the Neighbors Southwest neighborhood, located near the Westside Park trail, according to Portland, ABC affiliate Ore KATU.
The day after the horrific discovery, the Washington County Medical Examiner determined that Li had died by homicide. His precise cause of death has yet to be made public by authorities at the time of this writing.
The girl’s grandmother mourned her passing and remembered her life in comments to Portland CBS affiliate KOIN.
“I never see her angry, she was always smiling ‘ok grandma, ok grandma'” Lydia Li mentioned. “Pain . . . this pain is not possible to describe, you have to go through this pain. I don’t want anyone to go through this.”
Lydia Li told the TV station that her granddaughter had recently experienced a growth spurt. While on a shopping spree, Milana Li was happy enough to have new clothes to choose a set consisting of a t-shirt and jeans. But his family bought him more than that.
She died before she had the chance to wear them.
The victim leaves behind two brothers and sisters, including a 5-year-old sister.
“Milana was for her, mom, like a second mom,” Lydia Li told KOIN. “She took very good care of herself and Milana was a responsible girl.”
The victim attended Conestoga Middle School. Major Zan Hess addressed the loss in an email to students and their families:
Dear Conestoga Families,
It is with a heavy heart that I share with you devastating news that is impacting the Conestoga community. Yesterday we told you that 6th grader Milana Li was missing. A few hours ago we learned from the Beaverton Police Department that Milana had been found dead. Officers are investigating the circumstances surrounding his death. We don’t have any other information at this time.
Our hearts break for Milana’s loved ones, including her family and friends. We ask that you keep them in your thoughts tonight.
Tomorrow we will announce the passing of Milana in the first half. We will have additional counselors at the school to support students and staff. If you choose to speak with your student before school tomorrow, feel free to use this resource.
There are no words to express the sorrow of losing a child. Know that my staff and I are here for all of you and your students.
Beaverton police initially classified Li’s disappearance as a runaway case.
“Milana Li’s murder is deeply distressing to her family, friends and the entire community,” the Washington County Juvenile Department said in a news release. “Our thoughts are with Milana’s loved ones and everyone affected by her death.”
While the Beaverton Police Department reportedly declined to release the name of the accused, citing his status as a minor, Washington County officials confirmed his identity in their Friday announcement.
Daniel Gore16, is charged with Li’s murder.
Details are currently scarce on how investigators linked the defendant to the murder. In a Friday statement to KATU, the BPD said it “received dozens of investigative tips from community members and followed up on numerous leads.”
Washington County noted that Gore was on probation for numerous nonviolent offenses with the Youth Department at the time his alleged victim was killed. “These charges included robbery 2, arson 2 and criminal mischief 2,” the county noted.
The county went on to note that Gore was released on probation by a court after a series of “evaluations.” But, the county said, authorities were against his release.
“It is these assessment findings, along with recommendations from prosecution and defense attorneys, that inform the court in setting probation terms,” the press release continued. “For Daniel Gore, these conditions included his release to his home under the supervision of his parents. As the media reported, prosecutors in this case recommended that the minor be kept in custody and not released.
Washington County Assistant District Attorney Dustin Staten told the judge Brandon Thompson that the state intends to try Gore as an adult, according to a report by online media Patch.com.
The defendant is currently due back in court on June 3, 2022.
[image via Beaverton Police Department]
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