AL Gov Faces Outrage After Linking Girl’s Homicide To ‘Family Problems’

Some residents in Alabama expressed outrage and frustration on Friday after the governor there made comments tying the discovery of an 8-year-old girl’s body to drugs, alcohol or “family problems.”

Gov. Robert Bentley (R) made the comments on Thursday after searchers found the body of Hiawayi Robinson, who recently went missing and whose death has been ruled a homicide.

Television station WPMI reported that Bentley was asked about the death while he was making a visit to Mobile, Ala. for a manufacturing conference.

“There are things that happen we just don’t understand,” Bentley said, according to the TV station. “There are difficulties in families. We don’t know, maybe drug related. Maybe alcohol related. Maybe family problems. We just don’t know what the situation is.”

The website reported that that some local residents responded with outrage, given that police had not said anything publicly linking the family to the girl’s disappearance. One said the governor’s comments were “way way way out of line.”

Watch Bentley’s comments from Thursday:

It’s unclear whether the governor was privy to investigative details that had not been made public or whether he was merely speculating. His office did not respond to’s requests for comment.

Bentley released a statement on Friday along with a $5,000 reward for any information about Robinson’s death, according to WALA.

Dianne and I were heartbroken to learn of the tragic death of this innocent child. We have been praying and following the situation closely, and our prayers for comfort are with Hiawayi’s family.

We won’t rest until this little girl’s killer is brought to justice. Alabama’s state law enforcement agencies have been actively assisting the Prichard Police Department in the investigation into the death of Hiawayi Robinson. I directed the Secretary of the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, Spencer Collier, to go to Prichard and offer any resources needed. As soon as Hiawayi was reported missing, we sent 10 State Bureau of Investigation agents to Prichard, and our Trooper Aviation Unit also assisted in helping to find Hiawayi. Those agents will remain in Prichard until a suspect has been arrested. Furthermore, I’ve directed an increased presence of state troopers in Prichard until the person who committed this terrible act has been found.”

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