Police arrest 15-year-old boy, suspect in death of 12-year-old girl

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 by Rick Bowmer, St. George News

WEST VALLEY CITY  (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.

In this aerial photo, investigators look for evidence in the field where the body of a 12-year-old girl was found on Friday , July 17, 2015, in West Valley City, Utah.  West Valley City Police Chief Lee Russo said Friday the girl left her house about midnight with someone her parents didn't know, West Valley City, Utah, July 17, 2015 | AP photo by Tom Smart, The Deseret News, St. George News  (SALT LAKE TRIBUNE OUT; MAGS OUT; MANDATORY CREDIT)
In this aerial photo, investigators look for evidence in the field where the body of a 12-year-old girl was found on Friday , July 17, 2015, in West Valley City, Utah. West Valley City Police Chief Lee Russo said Friday the girl left her house about midnight with someone her parents didn’t know, West Valley City, Utah, July 17, 2015 | AP photo by Tom Smart, The Deseret News, St. George News

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.

In this aerial photo, investigators look for evidence in the field where the body of a 12-year-old girl found on Friday , July 17, 2015, in West Valley City, Utah.   Police believe she was killed in an altercation in the field near where her body was found in the suburb of Salt Lake City, West Valley City, July 17, 2015 | AP photo by Tom Smart,The Deseret News, St. George News
In this aerial photo, investigators look for evidence in the field where the body of a 12-year-old girl found on Friday , July 17, 2015, in West Valley City, Utah. Police believe she was killed in an altercation in the field near where her body was found in the suburb of Salt Lake City, West Valley City, July 17, 2015 | AP photo by Tom Smart,The Deseret News, St. George News

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 police officer walks on a driveway is 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 by Rick Bowmer, St. George News
A police officer walks on a driveway is 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 by Rick Bowmer, St. George News

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.”

Written by Lindsay Whitehurst, Associated Press

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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5 Comments

  • paul July 18, 2015 at 7:21 pm

    Why in the world would you let a 12 year old go out at midnight. Come on really bad deal all around

  • fun bag July 19, 2015 at 5:55 pm

    I believe this is somehow related to mexican drug gangs

    • native born new mexican July 19, 2015 at 6:40 pm

      This is not a time to be joking Fun Bag. This is a community tragedy. There is nothing funny about it.

  • ladybugavenger July 19, 2015 at 6:33 pm

    You must be on to something fun bag cuz why else would a 15 yr old kill a 12 yr old. We are in utah so the question needs to be asked, was he Mormon?..

  • fun bag July 19, 2015 at 9:42 pm

    no joke intended. I’m just wondering if that boy might be the offspring of one of those psychopath mexican drug gang members. Can’t help but wonder… We won’t get a name unless they try the little psycho as an adult tho…

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