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Utah police arrest teenage boy in 12-year-old’s death

Police officials gather during an investigation after a 12-year-old girl was found dead Friday, July 17, 2015, in West Valley City, Utah. The search for the missing 12-year-old girl is now being investigated as a homicide after West Valley City police discovered the girl's body in a horse pasture. Police Chief Lee Russo says the girl's mother approached two officers at a convenience store near their home around 1:30 a.m. Friday,July 17, 2015. She told officers her daughter had been missing since midnight. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah (AP) — Police arrested a 15-year-old boy Friday in the death of a young neighbor whose body was found in an overgrown horse pasture near her home in suburban Salt Lake City.

Investigators say the teen lured 12-year-old Kayley Vijil out of her home around midnight. She was found dead just hours later.

There are no other suspects in the death, and the teen will probably be charged with murder, West Valley City Police Chief Lee Russo said.

Authorities haven’t identified the suspect, since he’s a juvenile, and they didn’t provide much detail on the slaying.

Russo did say, however, that the teen had tried to entice another young girl out of a nearby home by saying he needed help. The parents intervened in that occasion.

The suspect and victim didn’t appear to have had any relationship, Russo said. “I believe a good-natured child was fooled,” he said.

The search for the girl began after her mother became worried when she didn’t come right home. She told two officers at a nearby convenience store at around 1:30 a.m. that her daughter was missing.

Police narrowed the search using the girl’s cellphone signal, honing in on the large, overgrown pasture about four blocks from her home and finding a depression in the grass where investigators think she was killed.

Her body was discovered at about 3 a.m.

Police said there was “evidence of trauma,” though authorities declined to specify how Vijil died.

The family placed a handwritten sign on their house Friday, asking for privacy.

Neither the girl nor her family had a history of encounters with police, West Valley City police spokeswoman Roxeanne Vainuku said.

A member of the family knew she was leaving, but it’s unclear how much her parents knew.

“This isn’t about parenting,” Russo said. “What we are investigating is the death of a 12-year-old girl.”

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