The story of what happened on the last day of Kailey Vijil’s short life is chilling. Only 12, she was lured by another child, a boy of 15, with an appeal to look for his lost cat. Hours later, her body was found close to her Utah home in a horse pasture.
The boy who lured Kailey has been charged with aggravated murder, and the Salt Lake County District Attorney, Sim Gill, intends to try him as an adult, the Deseret News reported. He’s too young to be sentenced with the death penalty, the Associated Press added.
And in a couple disturbing twists, police say that he tried his cat ruse on two other girls that same night, almost succeeding with another child before her parents intervened, the Salt Lake Tribune added. And the boy charged with her death had spent two stints in juvenile detention, released a mere week before allegedly strangling his victim.
Just before midnight last Thursday, a knock came on the Vijil’s front door. Kailey’s 14-year-old sister answered, but when the older boy asked for her help with his cat, she refused, People reported. He lured the younger girl outside instead. When she told her mom that her sister had left with him, she immediately tried to call her daughter on her cell phone. She didn’t answer, so began to search.
A mere 90 minutes later, she found two cops in a convenience store nearby and reported her daughter missing. Police were able to ping her cell phone, and that led them to the horse pasture.
In that short time, he’d allegedly lured Kailey to the overgrown field not a half-mile from the Vijil home, and strangled her with a t-shirt. Her body was found “lying in the field with a shirt wrapped around her neck.”
Police found signs of a struggle at the scene, and he admitted to being with Kailey in the field after they left her house looking for the pretend cat. He didn’t know the girl.
Two other children had close calls before he came knocking on Vijil’s door. Twenty minutes earlier, he approached another house in the neighborhood and asked the woman who answered if her 11-year-old granddaughter could help him look for a cat. The parents intervened and later, the grandmother pointed out the suspect’s house, the Tribune added.
In another case, he actually lured the girl outside, but she was thankfully called back into the house when her mother spotted her, Deseret reported.
The 15-year-old had been in plenty of trouble in his young life. Last fall, he was arrested on misdemeanor charges of theft, burglary, and possession of drug paraphernalia. He spent 32 days in a juvenile detention facility in February. In May, he was placed in an “observation and assessment facility,” and spent 44 days there. He was released on July 9. Vijil was killed a week later.
Police had hinted at a possible sexual assault. However, he was not charged with a sex crime and prosecutors said they “filed the charges that we think are appropriate.”
[Photo Courtesy of Twitter]