Utah police have arrested a suspect in the slaying of a 12-year-old girl who was found dead in a field. Authorities released a statement, claiming to have arrested a 15-year-old boy suspected of killing the girl.
According to Yahoo News, the boy was taken as a “person of interest” in the case, and that “evidence linked him to the crime scene.” Officials haven’t released any names yet, and according to the New York Daily News, the suspect was an “individual unknown to the family” of the dead Utah girl.
The suspect “lured” the girl out of her home in West Valley City, a Salt Lake City, Utah suburb, although it’s not clear how he was able to entice her to step outside.
Police department spokeswoman Roxanne Vainuku said the suspect may have tried something similar in the past with another Utah girl.
“There was some sort of dialogue that enticed her to come outside of her home,” Vainuku said, according to Yahoo News. “We have at least one other incident that appears to be the same individual, using the same dialogue, to attempt to get an 11-year-old girl to come out, but her parents intervened.”
The girl was found dead after her mother reported her missing. When the dead girl failed to return home, her mother searched for her and approached two officers at a 7-Eleven store, notifying them that her 12-year-old daughter had been missing for 90 minutes. Since the dead girl had “never run away before and cops hadn’t previously had contact with the family,” they began an immediate search, the police chief told the New York Daily News.
Officials organized a search party, and “by ‘pinging’ her cellphone, cops were able to find the child’s [dead] body in the grassy field near 3600 South and 5200 West just six blocks from her home,” a spokeswoman told the New York Daily News. Authorities believe the 12-year-old Utah resident was killed where she was found.
It’s not clear how the Utah girl died, although, according to Yahoo New, authorities “declined to say how [the 12 year old] died but said there was no evidence to suggest she died of a stab wound or gunshot.”
There’s no evidence that the suspect and the dead 12-year-old Utah girl knew each other, and when questioned about whether the parents would face child neglect charges, West Valley City Police Chief Lee Russo told reporters, “This isn’t about parenting. What we’re investigating is the death of a 12-year-old girl, and we need to stay focused on that.”
[Image credit: George Frey/Getty Images]