- Associated Press - Friday, July 11, 2014

THATCHER, Ariz. (AP) - The body of a 3-year-old girl was found buried in the backyard of a southeastern Arizona home, authorities said Friday.

An investigation of two young brothers left alone in a Thatcher motel last month led to the discovery, said Jennifer Bowser-Richards, spokeswoman for the state Department of Child Safety.

A Graham County probation officer found the boys June 26, KGUN-TV reported (https://bit.ly/VTYAJG ).

The officer had been looking for Joshua Matthew Cisneros, 23, who is dating the boys’ mother, Anna Marie Sanchez, 28.

Authorities say the investigation determined that the boys have a sister who has been missing since March 2012. Thatcher Police Chief Shaffen Woods said the Department of Child Safety brought the missing girl to the attention of police July 2.

Woods said the investigation led police to believe the girl was already dead and buried in a yard. Investigators spent at least six hours Wednesday afternoon digging before finding the body, he said.

Police are investigating whether the body is that of the boys’ sister.

Authorities were awaiting autopsy results from the Pima County medical examiner’s office. They are treating the case as a homicide.

Cisneros and Sanchez were jailed in Graham County on unrelated charges. It was not known Friday if either had an attorney who could be reached for comment.

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Information from: KGUN-TV, https://www.kgun9.com/news/

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