Neighbor kids in the 400 block of W. Biddle Street remember 3-year-old Victoria Brower playing with her toy car, playing with bubbles or riding her bike.
"She always had a smile on," Demetrius Oakes told News 10.
Now neighbors are learning the girl was found dead.
"I was like no way, it can't happen, because she's like a little sister to me," Oakes said.
Police say the call came in at 5:22 a.m. Wednesday. The girl's 26-year-old father said he found Victoria face down in her bed, not breathing. Police later interviewed the father and his wife, the girl's stepmother.
"Based on his interview, based on the interview with the stepmom who was present at the home and evidence collected at the scene, we consulted with the prosecutor's office and made a determination to arrest him and charge him with homicide," Jackson Deputy Police Chief Matt Heins said.
The father will likely be charged and face a judge Thursday morning, he said.
Heins won't say what in the interview raised suspicions. The man's arrest was shocking to a longtime neighbor who didn't want to appear on camera.
"Cute little girl. Sorry it had to happen like this," she said.
The neighbor saw the father Wednesday morning.
"He told me, 'This is stuff you only see on TV. This doesn't happen in real life'," she said. "Then he hugged my and told me at least she went in a peaceful way. She went in her sleep."
She said the conversation seemed a bit strange in part because the man and his stepwife mostly kept to themselves, she said, usually only talking to one neighbor. And she says she saw something else out of the ordinary Tuesday night.
"Usually the home is lit up and the house was pitch dark yesterday," the neighbor said.
Police say the investigation continues. An autopsy is scheduled for Wednesday night.