12-year-old missing Utah girl found murdered in horse pasture

Kailey Vigil

UPDATE:  The name of the the 12-year-old girl that was found dead in West Valley City is Kailey Vijil.  A 15-year-old boy is in custody, accused of killing her.  This was the same teen that was brought to the police station earlier in the day. West Valley City Police Chief Lee Russo said at a Friday afternoon press conference that the boy could be charged with murder.  According to the Salt Lake Tribune, the teen lured Vijil outside by telling her he needed some sort of help, Russo said, but would not elaborate on what that help was.  Authorities believe that there had been no prior contact between the two in person or by phone.

Not long before Vijil disappeared around midnight, the suspect tried a similar ruse with an 11-yr-old girl who lives in the same neighborhood, but the girl told him she had to go home and eat dinner.  

Original story:  The body of a missing 12-year-old Utah girl has been found in West Valley City on Friday.

Her mother was out looking for her when she approached an officer at the 7-11 asking for help around 1:30 a.m..

A search was organized and authorities pinged the girl’s cell phone which led them to a tower triangulation area where the cell phone might be.  After checking sheds in the neighborhood the police were drawn to an overgrown horse pasture near 3600 S. and 5200 West street located behind a row of homes, and about four blocks from the girls home, reports the Salt Lake Tribune.

Around 3 a.m., police found an area of the grass that had been walked on and then found the girl’s home.  They have announced there is “evidence of trauma” on the girl’s body and they are calling the case a homicide.  The cell phone was not found with the girl.

West Valley City Police Chief Lee Ruso told KSL news that the girl willing left her home around midnight.  Later,  Deseret News reported she was with a person the family did not know, who had texted her.  Social media rumors are stating it was a 15-year-old teen.  Although she went out to talk with the boy, it is not known if she actually left with him.   Chief Ruso also said that the authorities have not been called to the home at any other time.

A search warrant has been executed by police Friday afternoon at a house on Odell Drive which is located near where the girls body was found.  The boy is at the police station being questioned but Chief Ruso stated that does not necessarily mean the boy killed the girl.

The chief would not go into any details on what the additional evidence found at the scene was.

More information to follow as it comes out.

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Jerrie Dean, who is retired from Federal Law Enforcement, is the Founder of Missing Persons of America.

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