West Valley City Police Chief releases details on suspect in young girl’s homicide

Posted at 1:21 PM, Jul 17, 2015
and last updated 2015-07-17 21:08:20-04

WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah - West Valley City Police Chief Lee Russo released what officers know about a 12-year-old girl's homicide in a pair of news conferences Friday, and at the second conference Russo stated that a teen first listed as a person of interest is now believed to be the sole suspect in the case.

Russo said the 15-year-old suspect allegedly enticed the victim away from her home around midnight. The victim has been identified as 12-year-old Kailey Vijil, and officials said they are looking at murder charges for the teen.

"There was a statement that was made that enticed her to come out, I can't get into the particulars at the moment," Russo said, adding that there was a dialogue in which the victim agreed to come outside.

Russo said in the first press conference it was important to note they weren't saying the teen was a suspect or the only party involved, but in the 3:00 p.m. press conference he stated the teen was the sole suspect in the case and that evidence at the scene linked the teen to the victim's death.

Police said there doesn't seem to have been communication between the suspect and victim prior to Thursday night. The teen was not in the neighborhood where the alleged murder occurred when police located him for questioning.

Russo said they identified the teen through investigation and their canvassing when neighbors provided information about the teen suspect. He said the teen wasn't someone previously known to their department.

The victim's body was found several hours after midnight on farm property less than a mile from her home near 3500 S. and 5200 W. Russo said there is no information to suggest a stab or gunshot wound and they are waiting on a medical examiner's determination regarding the cause of death.

The search started when the girl's parents found officers at a nearby 7-Eleven and told them their daughter was missing.

Authorities pinged the girl's cellphone and later found her body less than a mile from her home in an area with tall grass and weeds. Russo said there was evidence of trauma at the scene. He said at the scene there was one location where it appears an altercation took place and another location where it appears the body was left.

Anyone with information on the case is urged to call West Valley City Police at (801) 840-4000.