A man being questioned about a burglary surprised his interrogators Saturday by confessing to a murder two years ago of a 12-year-old girl in Queens, a police spokesman said.
Thomas Bryant, 20, was arrested after admitting that he had killed Leeann Mitchell, whose body was left so mutilated that she wasn't identified until after Bryant made his confession, said police spokesman Alan Krawitz.
Authorities recovered the girl's remains in a wooded field on July 18, 1998, about 100 yards west of the street where Bryant lived, Krawitz said. The body had been bludgeoned and set on fire, making identification impossible, he added.
Bryant had been arrested five times before in connection with three burglaries, petty larceny and an assault before he was picked up a sixth time Friday, Krawitz said.
During questioning, Bryant began to speak about the killing, at first blaming it on someone else, Krawitz said.
Bryant was charged with second-degree murder and held for an initial court appearance, police said.