Parents are ‘persons of interest’ in Macon girl’s strangulation

This photo of Carly Rigby ran with her obituary.
This photo of Carly Rigby ran with her obituary.

Parents of a 4-year-old girl found dead in her bedroom two months ago are considered “persons of interest” in her death, a source familiar with the case said Friday.

Results of an autopsy report show Carlene “Carly” Jane Rigby’s death was a homicide and that she died by asphyxia by strangulation, Bibb County Coroner Leon Jones said.

A GBI medical examiner ruled that the girl, whose body was found near the head of her bed March 22, did not die by accident.

Carly’s father, 32-year-old Jason Hod Rigby, told authorities that he found her dead when he went to wake her for church that Sunday morning.

The cord from window blinds was wrapped around her neck in a way that puzzled investigators.

“They are just trying to be thorough with the investigation to answer the who, what, why and how,” sheriff’s Lt. Sean DeFoe said. “You have to be thorough in your investigation, and that’s what they’re doing.”

No charges have been filed in the case.

Jason Rigby and his 33-year-old wife, Jodi, have three other children who have been staying with their grandparents since their sister’s death. The Rigbys visit the children regularly.

In late March, Telegraph reporters spoke to Jodi Rigby’s mother, 61-year-old Suzanne Minarcine.

Minarcine called Carly’s death “a tragic accident.”

“Why treat my children like they are criminals?” Minarcine said of her daughter and son-in-law. “Let them investigate. It was an accident in the home!”

The grandmother said her family “is devastated” and urged people with children to take down their blinds.

“But let us grieve,” she said. “We just want to grieve in private.”

Carly would have turned 5 in August. She and her two brothers, ages 9 and 6, and her 2-year-old sister lived with their parents in the Highlands, a decade-old subdivision along Mumford Road.

The Rigbys moved there three springs ago, settling at 646 Ivy Brook Way, about a mile west of Napier Avenue.

Two months ago, days after Carly’s death, a jumbled pile of four pairs of children’s shoes lay on the front porch at the family’s two-story house.

A hippo wind chime dangled beside the door.

Hippos were a favorite of Carly’s half-brother, Glenn Milton Price, a child from her mother’s first marriage. He died after being struck by a car in November 2005 in Newnan. He was 5.

Carly’s body was found on what would have been Glenn’s 15th birthday.

Staff writer Liz Fabian contributed to this report.