Motive in killing of southeastern Missouri 3-year-old unclear

Wednesday, August 17, 2011 | 10:59 a.m. CDT

SENATH — As the small Missouri town of Senath prepares to say goodbye to Breeann Rodriguez, police still don't know what allegedly drove a neighbor to suffocate the 3-year-old girl.

Breeann's body was found Tuesday on the bank of a drainage ditch a few miles outside of Senath, a town of 1,500 residents in far southeastern Missouri. Shawn Morgan was arrested Saturday and charged with first-degree murder. A probable cause statement said he told investigators it "felt like it took an hour" to suffocate the child with a plastic bag.

Searchers had been looking for Breeann since she was reported missing on Aug. 6.

Julie Crowder of the Dunklin County Sheriff's Department said Morgan did not offer a motive.

A funeral will be Saturday in Senath.

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