Gov. Robert Bentley has offered a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for killing 8-year-old Hiawayi Robinson.
In a news release sent out Friday afternoon, the governor said:
"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."
Bentley has taken heat from AL.com readers, as well as some lawmakers, in regards to comments he made from Point Clear on Thursday in regards to the case. Some called the comments, in which he offered thoughts on what could have led to Hiawayi's death, insensitive.
On her Facebook page, Sen. Vivian Davis Figures, D-Mobile, expressed extreme dismay with the governor's comments.
"How dare the Governor!!! I have a call into the Governor's office DEMANDING an apology! I'm waiting for him to call me back. His words are TOTALLY unacceptable, and we will not tolerate it!!!"
Calls to the governor's office on Friday morning were not returned, but just after noon, he released a statement about the reward.
"We won't rest until this little girl's killer is brought to justice," Bentley said in the release.
Referring to the reward, he said:
"Sometimes tips from the public are the only leads law enforcement officers have to help them solve a case. I hope this reward will encourage anyone with any information to come forward . . ."
The governor said he also directed Spencer Collier, secretary of the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, "to go to Prichard and offer any resources needed."
Ten state Bureau of Investigation agents were also sent to Prichard once Hiawayi was reported missing, he said.
The young girl was reported missing on Tuesday evening after she failed to come home from a cousin's nearby apartment. Her body was found on Rebel Road in Prichard, a few miles away from her home, on Thursday.
A homicide investigation is ongoing, and Bentley urged anyone with information to call the FBI at 1-800-CALL FBI. (325-5324).