Aggravated murder charge filed against teen in Kailey Vijil’s death

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SALT LAKE CITY -- The Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office has filed an aggravated murder charge against a 15-year-old boy accused of killing a 12-year-old girl in West Valley City last week.

Prosecutors are asking a juvenile court judge to certify the boy as an adult, where he could potentially face a life sentence if he is convicted. FOX 13 is not naming the boy because he is still a juvenile in the court system.

"This was an issue that was of grave concern to the community where this happened, given that they had a 12 year old, young girl who was killed," said Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill. "We felt that it was appropriate to ask this young man be certified as an adult."

Court records reveal Kailey Vijil was strangled to death, possibly with a T-shirt found wrapped around her neck.

In a probable cause statement filed with the charges and obtained by FOX 13 on Tuesday, detectives write that the boy knocked on the door of Vijil's home and asked her 14-year-old sister to help him find a "lost cat."

"T.V. told the defendant 'no' and the defendant then asked D.U.'s 12-year-old daughter (Kailey Vijil) to help him find his lost cat," detectives wrote. "(Kailey) left with the defendant. T.V. informed D.U. that K.V. had left with the defendant. D.U. attempted to contact K.V. and when K.V. did not return home, D.U. contacted the police."

On July 17, Kailey Vijil’s body was discovered on farm property less than a mile from her home in the area of 3500 South and 5200 West. The 15-year-old boy was arrested the same day authorities discovered Kailey’s body. The probable cause statement said the boy confessed to being with Vijil.

If the motion to prosecute the teen as an adult is granted, he will transfer from the juvenile court to the district court, where he will be prosecuted as an adult. The teen is scheduled to make an appearance Wednesday before a juvenile court judge. He is being held in a juvenile detention facility.

Court records show the teen had recently been in juvenile detention for drug and theft charges.