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 came to the door and lured 12-year-old Kailey 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.
Russo did say, however, that the teen had tried to entice another young girl out of a nearby home earlier that night by saying he needed help. The parents intervened in that occasion, and police are investigating similar reports.
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 they found “evidence of trauma” and that Vijil didn’t appear to have been shot or stabbed. They didn’t provide additional details on the slaying, however.
The victim’s family had recently moved to the middle-class neighborhood, Russo said. They placed a handwritten sign asking for privacy on their home Friday.
A member of the family knew she was leaving the house, 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.”
This story has been corrected to show that the victim’s name is spelled Kailey, not Kayley, after police released corrected information.
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