Missing 16-Year-Old Girl Found Dead In Whitley County, Man Charged In Connection To Her Disappearance

The search for a 16-year-old girl, Kayly Lockaby, of Laurel County in Kentucky came to a poignant end after she was found dead in Whitley County just days after her foster parents reported her missing, according to Lex 18.

The Laurel County Sheriff’s Department said the missing teen was last seen at approximately 4:30 a.m. Tuesday, July 26, wearing “black leggings, a red shirt, and black flip flops.”

She was reportedly in the company of her 21-year-old boyfriend, Skyler Barnett.

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Not long after the Laurel County Sheriff’s Department issued an alert to the public, seeking help in locating the missing teen, her body was found about 400-feet from her boyfriend’s home in a wooded area at approximately 8 p.m. Friday, July 29.

Police officials were unable to determine the exact time the teen died due to “decomposition and other environmental factors,” but they suspect Lockaby had been dead for a few days before her body was found.

However, with the help of fire and rescue, the teen’s body was transferred to the Whitley County Coroner’s office for an autopsy Saturday to uncover the cause of death.

Coroner Andy Croley stated the results concluded that there were “no anatomical evidence of a traumatic injury that could have caused the teen’s death,” which “rules out shooting, stabbing, blunt force trauma, and other types of possible causes of death.”

Officials are now waiting on toxicology reports to determine if they will be able to find out how the teen died, but the results could take up to two weeks to complete.

Although it was not immediately clear whether Whitley County police officials suspect foul play in the death of the teen, they have arrested her boyfriend after he was found in the home when police found her body, according to Lexington Herald Leader.

Barnette is currently being held at the county jail on the “charges of third-degree unlawful transaction with a minor, first-degree possession of controlled substance (heroin), and possession of drug paraphernalia.”

Barnett was interrogated by police officials, but they have yet to reveal his comments on the death of his girlfriend.

However, it was later uncovered that although there is a difference in age, Barnett expressed just how happy he had been after meeting the teen.

In a Facebook post, he said: “I really thought that I wouldn’t or couldn’t meet someone like her and as beautiful and perfect as she is or that could make me so happy.”

Barnett’s neighbors told reporters that he was well-known in the area and “he was always out doing things like cars when he was like 10 years old, driving them things so, you know, kind of turned lose [sic].”

After learning the missing teen was found dead, neighbors were stunned, including Michael Lee, who stated that “nothing like that has happened around here that I’ve known of in a long time.”

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However, Lee added that she sort of expected the tragedy because of the “increased amount of traffic seemed like a lot of cars we haven’t seen all summer and, too, the hours have just been later than normal.”

“It scared the both he and his wife of us to know something like that scary has happened this close.

“Nobody lived there in about five years. I think there’s been a drug ring back there for a while and then they moved out.”

Bonnie Lockaby, who is the teen’s biological mother, stated that after she learned that her daughter was found dead, it “just feel like somebody ripped my heart out. I’m just empty. There’s a big hole there.”

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She went on to say that her daughter’s boyfriend “introduced her to substances and doing drugs, and she gained an addiction to it,” leading her down a “bad road.”

Although a cause of death has not been determined, Whitley County police officials are investigating the incident to determine what happened to the teen after she went missing.

[Image via Kayly Lockaby/Facebook]