FOX40 exclusively spoke to Jadianna Larsen’s father, Richard Larsen at the Rio Consumnes Correction Center after his 6-year-old daughter’s charred body was found in Glenn County Thursday.
“I grew up in the system and I know what that’s like, and I didn’t want that for our daughter,” Larsen said.
Richard Larsen held the phone tightly, showing us a photo of his biological daughter through a glass window.
“My daughter… she was loved and she was a ray of sunshine. And I, I just wish that I had … I could have overcame my drug addiction,” he said.
The 33-year-old is serving time at the Elk Grove facility for petty theft and possession of narcotics.
He told FOX40, he and Jadianna’s mother, Tenecia Clark were homeless at the time they had Jadianna. He was working to get over his drug addiction, but said he could not kick the habit.
Larsen said he has only met his daughter once. That was six years ago, when he held her in his arms on the day she was born. He said Child Protective Services immediately took Jadianna away, after investigators determined he and his ex-girlfriend were unfit to be parents.
But he said Jadianna’s mother worked on changing her ways and she was granted sole custody of their daughter.
“It was Jadianna’s best interest to not have me around,” Larsen said. “I was stuck in and out with drugs and homeless and just … at the bottom of the well and not trying to climb out of it like I should have been,” Larsen said.
He admitted he was an absentee father, but said he had never forgotten about Jadianna. He was notified of the death by sheriff’s detectives.
“A detective came to see me, he had a tape recorder on and he had a box in his hand… a white box. And I saw it was for taking DNA evidence,” Larsen said.
They were looking for a DNA sample, after finding a young girl’s burned body in Glenn County last week.
The Sacramento Sheriff’s Department said it was a match.
Larsen said he has never met Juan Rivera, Jadianna’s suspected killer. But he does have a message for him.
“This person that did this to my daughter, and the way he did it … there is no excuse for that. It was not an accident. It was intentional. There is no… “Oh, you had a mental breakdown.” We all have that. But we don’t go around beating up little girls, shoving them into suitcases, and burning them..”
Larsen said he is not to blame for his daughter’s death. But he does know he could have done more for Jadianna.
“My friends sat me down and said, “Look, you can’t blame yourself.’ I thought because of the things I went through in my childhood, that I made the best decision. And I don’t… I don’t blame myself for this,” he said.
Larsen said he is scheduled to be released sometime this month. He hopes to attend his daughter’s funeral.