For the last 13 summers Georgia's Fulton County District Attorney has conducted the Junior DA Program, a crime prevention and educational program designed to provide rising seventh-grade students an overview of the criminal justice system. One of the program's recent graduates has already put what she learned into practice, using the detective skills and knowledge of the criminal justice system that she was taught this past summer to gather clues and pinpoint the culprit that burglarized the home of her great-grandmother. ABC News reports on Jessica Maple, the 12-year-old Atlanta girl who claims to have found and got a confession from the burglar who ransacked a home that has been in her family for 70 years:
"'The windows were broken. There were finger prints by the glass. Everything was ramshackled. There were clothes everywhere.'
Not only did Jessica find a crucial clue police missed, but she took it one step further by visiting a pawn shop down the street.
Sure enough, she found her great-grandmother's furniture for sale.
'They weren't thinking,' she said of the robbers. 'They put everything in the same shop!"
The two men who sold the furniture are frequent clients of the pawn shop, and the manager gave Maple their identification. Maple claims to have gone with her mother to the home of one of the suspects to confront him on the crime:
"'We went up to him and I asked him why he did it,' Jessica said. 'At first he denied it, but then he confessed."
After taking on the role of detective herself in finding clues and ultimately tracking down the burglars who robbed her great-grandmother, Maple is asking police to step up and do the one thing she can't; arrest the suspects. Atlanta Journal Constitution on where the case stands:
"'It's been a month and five days, and they haven't been arrested,' Jessica said. "It's really frustrating. If you have all of the evidence right there, why can't you go arrest them?"
The crime took place in southern Fitzgerald, Georgia, outside of Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard's jurisdiction. While Howard is unable to move the case forward, he is proud of Maple.
"It was incredible. She was so bright and such a great personality," he said to ABC News. "I'm sure the police are probably a little bit embarrassed."
“These young people are a testament to what is good about our youth," Howard told the AJC. "Jessica showed initiative and zeal and in the process, helped to create a better society by assisting police in their quest to get two criminals off the street. Her future is bright.”