Child's body found buried in Thatcher yard

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By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

THATCHER, Ariz. -- A body found buried in a yard in Thatcher on Wednesday is believed to be that of a child who went missing in March 2012, according to police.

The Thatcher Police Department began searching for the child after receiving a missing person report from the Arizona Department of Child Safety on July 2.

Police did not release any information about the missing child other than saying the child was under 6 years old. The Eastern Arizona Courier reports the child is a 3-year-old girl.

Police learned during their investigation that the child was alleged to be dead and buried in a yard on First Street. Police searched the area and found the body Wednesday afternoon.

The body was transported to the Pima County Medical Examiner's Office for further investigation, identification and an autopsy.

Thatcher police say the case is being handled as a potential homicide.

According to the Eastern Arizona Courier newspaper, a Department of Child Safety worker learned of the missing child during an interview with a boy believed to be her brother. Two boys, ages 11 and 6, were found alone in a Safford motel room June 26. They said they hadn't seen their mother, 28-year-old Anna Marie Sanchez, since the previous the day.

Sanchez and her boyfriend, 23-year-old Joshua Matthew Cisneros, are persons of interest in the case, according to the newspaper. They are in Graham County Jail on unrelated charges.

The Safford and Mesa police departments, Graham County Sheriff's Office, Graham County Attorney's Office, Arizona Office of Child Welfare Investigations, Arizona Department of Public Safety, and the town of Thatcher have also assisted with the investigation.

Thatcher is a town in Graham County in the southeastern part of Arizona.