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Posted: Monday, 15 July 2013 5:33PM

'Person of interest' sought in case of missing Harvey girl

The Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office has released the name and photo of a 'person of interest' that they want to speak with in the case of a missing six-year-old Harvey girl.

Police say the man is named Matthew Flugence.

JPSO Col. John Fortunato says there is a warrant out in connection with the alleged sexual battery of an 11-year-old.  Fortunato said at an afternoon press conference that Flugence is wanted on that charge and "lives in North's neighborhood."

He has not been named a suspect in the case, according to Fortunato.

Earlier today, Fortunato told WWL First News his investigators have exhaustively searched a wooded area near the family's apartment, and have now turned to other areas of investigation.  

He says in addition to interviewing nearby registered sex offenders, his department has also checked and re-checked the family's account of what happened.  

"We've verified the information from the family as far as their activity just before retiring on Friday night," Fortunato said. "They were at a nearby supermarket around 10:45, we were able to look at the video there, and confirm the time frame was consisted with the information provided to us."

According to Fortunato, the JPSO has consulted with several other law enforcement agencies, including federal assistance.  "We have been sucessful in administering polygraph examinations to immediate family members with the assistance of the FBI," he said.  "We're now going to extend our canvas deep into the Woodmere subdivision, which I might add is the largest subdivision in Jefferson Parish."  

Ahlittia's mother called 911 Saturday morning after discovering her child missing.  The mother says she last saw the girl as they went to bed at about 11:00 p.m. Friday night.

"We're still not ruling out the possibility that this child may have chosen to up and walk out of the apartment on her own," Fortunato said.  "There were no signs of forced entry...Also missing from the residence was a blanket the child always kept with her, as well as a toothbrush and toothpaste."

Fortunato urges anyone with information to call the JPSO Investigations Bureau at 504-364-5400, or Crimestoppers at 504-822-1111.

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