Teen booked after 12-year-old West Valley City girl found dead

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WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah -- A 15-year-old boy is in custody, accused of killing a 12-year-old girl in a field near her home in West Valley City, and the suspect has been booked into detention on a criminal homicide charge.

At a news conference Friday afternoon, West Valley City Police Chief Lee Russo announced the teen was arrested, accused of killing 12-year-old Kailey Vijil. The police chief said Vijil had been lured from her home around midnight to a field near 3500 South and 5200 West, where she died of blunt force trauma.

Kayley Vijil. Image via Facebook.

Kailey Vijil. Image via Facebook.

"I believe a good natured child was fooled and unfortunately, made a mistake that she paid the ultimate price for," Russo told reporters.

The police chief said the teen was believed to be the sole suspect in Vijil's death and evidence at the scene linked him to the crime. Friday night, the teen was booked into the Salt Lake County Juvenile Detention Center on one count of criminal homicide, according to a press release. Officers served a search warrant at the teen's home.

Neighbors told FOX 13 the boy had recently gotten out of juvenile detention and had approached some girls on their street.

Outside the home of a 15-year-old murder suspect, West Valley City police prepare to serve a search warrant.

Outside the home of a 15-year-old murder suspect, West Valley City police prepare to serve a search warrant.

"He asked me: 'I've been waiting for you to see my fort setting it up and I want you to go see my fort in the abandoned house,'" said Mia Montano, who lived nearby. "I said 'No, I’ve got to go eat my lunch.'"

Mia's mother, Michelle Montano, said she told police about the encounter after learning about Vijil's murder.

"That’s too close to home. That’s so scary," she said.

Mia's father, Filipe, was visibly upset by the encounter his daughter had with the boy. He said he was grateful she stayed away from him.

"I feel for the family who did lose a child. I feel for the family who will go to sleep tonight with an empty house," he told FOX 13.

Police said they began an investigation after the girl's parents flagged down officers at a West Valley City 7-Eleven early Friday morning and told them their daughter was missing.

"This isn't about parenting. This is about a homicide," Russo said to questions about why the girl was allowed out of the home at midnight.

During the investigation, police attempted to locate the victim by tracking her cell phone. Officers said tracking the phone did help them close in on the victim's location, but it was not on her.

Under Utah law, the 15-year-old can be charged as an adult. However, the process requires a juvenile court judge to evaluate a number of factors including the teen's family history, criminal history and likelihood of rehabilitation. If the judge were to keep the teen in the juvenile system, he could only be detained until 21, if he were to be convicted. If the judge determined the teen should be tried as an adult, he would go into that court system where he could face a potential life imprisonment.

The teen's family released a statement to FOX 13 News' Ben Winslow, see the tweet below for details.

The statement appears to read: "Our hearts and prayers are with the Vijil Family and may God comfort all families hurt in this terrible tragedy."

West Valley City police said they will consult with prosecutors about the appropriate charges.

Watch FOX 13 News and fox13now.com for the latest developments...


3500 S. and 5200 W, West Valley City, UT


  • Valerie

    Why would a mother allow her 12 yr. old daughter to leave home at midnight? Police need to investigate this mother for neglect and child endangerment. This is very disturbing and tragic and never should have happened.

    • Carol

      Did you stay up all night and day and watch your children? That is if you had/have any. Children sneak out. It is not neglect unless the police find evidence of it otherwise. Don’t jump to conclusions. I do hope they find out what really happened. Prayers for the family!

      • Nathan

        From the statement released by the police the mother was aware that the girl was leaving the house at close to midnight…. not sneaking out. So yeah i think it does have something to do with parenting.

      • Nathan

        You are absolutely correct Fox did not report it, but the Videos of the press conferences does say the mom knew the girl was leaving the home and because suspicious when her daughter didn’t return home quickly and thats when the mom went looking for her. This is from KSL “Vijil’s mother apparently knew her daughter was leaving with the male, Russo said. But he would not say what the girl told her mother about where she might have been going.

        When her daughter didn’t come back, the mother became worried and went looking for her. About 1:30 a.m., the girl’s mother ran into two West Valley police officers at a 7-Eleven, 4807 W. 3500 South, and told them the girl was missing.”


    • BilleeJean Marquiss

      You should be ashamed of your self. I’m sure that mother didn’t “allow” that child out of the house. Children do sneak out of the house at night. I hope you never have to face a tragedy like this in your life.

    • Hunter

      Valerie not every family is as blessed as some of us who have homes security systems. Wait until your children are grown and begin telling you all the things they did while your eyes where closed and think how stupid you’ll feel for being so judgmental.

      • Cindy

        That’s exactly right, Hunter. I raised 5 girls and all but my youngest, have kids of their own and I am still hearing stories that just shock me. I don’t know how I didn’t know, because I thought I kept pretty close tract of them. Enough to annoy them, so I knew I was doing my job, lol

      • Valerie

        I laugh at how people can assume things. And after all the news reports this mother KNEW her daughter was leaving the house at midnight. SO, you tell me how this mother isn’t responsible for the death of her child? I am sorry that there are parents out there who don’t love their children enough to keep them from making bad choices. A 12 yr. old is NOT mature enough to know what is good for them so as parents WE must choose for them, this mother was wrong! I am sorry that a young girl lost her life due to the poor judgment of her mother as her mother should have said, “NO!”
        As for the person who asked me to, “die” thank you so much for your hateful comment and I will be reporting it to FOX13.

    • Unknown

      Why don’t you read the story… This has nothing to do with the mother or father . kids will be kids .. Have a heart people .. You don’t know what these parents are going through .

    • JJ Arty

      I was extremely active and energetic from the time I was ten to eighteen. I snuck out of the house so many times my parents tried a makeshift lock and chain on my window, which only stopped me until I learned where they hid the key.
      Whether my parents gave me permission or not, I left when I needed to, a result of a personality disorder I still occasionally find myself battling in my adult years.
      However, my parents later told me that when they began to allow me to leave, and showed me they trusted me, I would come home earlier. They said I started to care again about the quality of our relationship, and make obvious efforts to maintain it.
      I honestly don’t remember most of those thoughts. And I don’t know that it is the same situation with the family in the article. What I mean to say is that every child is different. My siblings weren’t like me, and my children are unlike me for which I’m grateful. You can’t say she was a bad mother because she gave her child permission. The police interviewed the parents and necessary actions are being taken. Those actions were found to be the prosecution of the fifteen year old, with no blame yet to be placed on the parents. The parents were doing the best they knew how to raise the girl, and that is certainly more than any of us could have done for her.
      The actions of the fifteen year old boy and the twelve year old girl were misfortunate beyond what I can imagine. But we have no right or reason to blame the outcome on the parents.

  • April Riggs

    When I was 12 I snuck out all the time- not to do anything wrong, just being a kid- now that my girls are grown Ithey have told me they snuck out too- Such a sad story- no parent should have to burry their child. Please remember to be kind- we have no idea what this family is going through

  • Family Protect

    This is about Parenting. With all due respect, Mr. Russo, it is about families deteriorating. The girl was let out of her house to meet somebody the parent(s) did not know and the parent(s) knew this was happening. The evidence points to the mother being somewhat detached if she is letting her go out at midnight with someone she does not know. Also, what about the 15 year old boy or guilty killer? Violence among men, particularly young men, is increasing dramatically within certain demographics in our society. Every man recently involved in mass killings/murder have had several things in common: a troubled family life, some form of mental illness and extreme exposure to violent media and peers. There are exceptions to this pattern, but they are less common.

    Different families of all make-ups successfully nurture children to adulthood through values and principles. I am not referring to those demographics. The demographic I am referring to is lost and alone. Abandoned by both parents or at the very least one. These parents are so fixated on themselves, through drugs, work, television- any form of modern distraction, the kids are ignored. Am I saying this mother is this way with her daughter? We do not know but it might be worth exploring so we can be aware. What is the killer’s background, then? Is there a troubled family pattern of chronic abusive and selfishness? Following the recent pattern, this is most likely true and there is a high probability he fits the criteria. More often than not, we never get the true story, just some highly spun thing by the family of the killer because it is all so tragic. It would be really helpful if the media pointed out the patterns of our modern age deficiencies related to our families. So, when we see them in ourselves, we auto-correct instead of continuing negligent behavior for the sake of not appearing to be too judgemental. Violence is increasing and it starts and ends in the family. I have a feeling it may be so in this case in several different ways. While a tragic situation, we need to brave enough to analyze what is wrong with our society- recognized family issues at the center- take better care of our own and be more watchful of the mentally disturbed among us.

  • Terence W.

    These comments just make me sick. People….a life was lost. Mistakes were made. Be concerned about the grieving of the families involved. And DO NOT place blame on people’s mistakes! Yes, life was lost. Yes, parents should be more a part of their children’s lives. Yes, people should be more careful. But Hell, these types of comments just spur more hatred. Put prayers and love to the families who now must grieve over their children! That’s what we do…show love. :) You have no idea of the back story of any of these people, and your judgmental comments about nothing just makes the negativity worse.

    Two simple words:
    Grow up.
    Show love.
    Be kind.

    • sand67

      Actually something like this happening due to a parent allegedly allowing her little girl to go out after midnight with a stranger SHOULD be discussed. That is a serious problem if it’s the case. It’s not bashing or hateful. It’s human beings trying to figure out what kind of mom would allow this. Again this is if the reports are correct.

      • Tiffany

        Please leave the family alone!!! Look at the boy who did the wrong and not the girl and family that has been mourning the loss of their child… They can never see or talk or hold her again !! My son and family with miss her,we new her!!! She and my son and another boy we’re best friend s like the three amigos !! Leave them be !!!!!!

  • Tammy

    Before we continue to condemn this mother lets keep in mind we do know what the outcome would have been if the mother said no you are not going out. She may have snuck out anyway. When my son was about 7 he asked if he could ride his bike to the store. I knew he would be crossing major roads and I said no. I will take you but I can’t for about an hour. He went anyway. I found out when I got a knock on the door saying my child had been hit by a car. The point is kids don’t always listen to no. Let’s send love and blessings to this grieving family. They have to live without their daughter.

  • Chris

    A lot of people here blaming the parents, they did not murder their child, the killer is responsible for her death, do not blame the victim, this 15 year old boy made “poor choices” he is the reason she’s gone, if it wasn’t her it would have been someone else, when someone is involved in a homicide, it’s not anyone’s fault but the person who decided to take her life.

    • sand67

      True. But we can still question the mother’s choice. If a mom allows her child to play on a busy street and she gets hit and killed by a car, the mom didn’t kill her, the car did but her lack of protection for her child led her to her demise. If a 15 year old boy comes to your house at midnight and wants your little girl to come outside would you let her???? I didn’t think so.

    • Tammy

      The only person who knows why would be the 15 year old and I’m betting he will say he never meant to. I’m speculating but I would say he didn’t like the struggle she was putting up and he decided in that moment to stop her from struggling him. He decides in the moment the thing to do is blunt force to get her within his control.

  • Lori

    Valerie, and all others with your heartless uncaring comments, this right now is not about the parenting, this is about an innocent life taken by a disturbed young boy. I pray to God that you never loose a child for any reason, but if you do I hope the blame is solely put on you as you are doing to this grieving mother, then maybe you’ll see just how disgusting you sound (wether or not you are correct, some things are better when kept to yourself).The “why” is not important right now, this baby is gone and 2 families lives have been forever changed! I hear all of you condemning this mother for her decision, but not one word of the boy’s parents, I feel only compassion and sorrow for these families. Please think before you open your big jaws, don’t kick this mother while she’s down, she’s going thru so very much right now. Sad sad story, but the comments are just heart wrenching and shows how heartlessly cruel ppl are. I will not be commenting on this story again but did want to get this out and let both families know that my heart is aching for them all.

  • Tiffany

    I am so ashamed of you people for being mean to Kylie’s mom and her family you need to respect them and leave them alone my son is her best friend and I don’t appreciate it how would you feel if that was your kid leave them alone

      • Tiffany

        Valerie I think you need to stop posting because a lot of people are getting pissed at your comment your lucky that know one knows where you live!!!!

      • Kinetica

        “YOU’RE lucky that NO one knows where you live!!!” So you’re threatening her just because her opinion differs from yours? and calling people fat cows when you apparently have children yourself, seriously how old are you? I think you should shut your mouth because 1 you don’t know what you’re talking about and 2 your grammar is atrocious. To think you’re a parent and this is the way you talk, I feel bad for our future.

    • sand67

      I would never in a million years allow my child to wander off with a boy I didn’t know in the middle of the night.

  • Rachel

    Kailey was my son’s best friend also for 6 years, she was like a daughter to me. Her parents love her very much, none of you people posting cruel comments about her parents know them or her like her friends and family do, you only take what the media says, which by the way, doesn’t say everything, and take it as complete fact. That is ignorant and pathetic on your parts. Stop taking what the media says as the full picture of what happened. I hope none of you have to go through this yourselves, but if you should ever, I hope you like the feeling of trying to mourn while random strangers blame you. My family’s thoughts, love and prayers are with her family.

  • Tiffany

    Ya I hope that people get it though their heads that being cruel to a family that has lost a child is wrong thank you my son Jordan and I have her in our prayers as well!! He had good memory s of her and will miss though s 4 years that they had together! He’s going to miss drawing with her and he’s going to keep those pictures say that she gave him we wish the family well and that we are thinking of you ! Love the rutherford family

  • Marie

    From my understanding the boy asked if she could help him look for his pregnant cat, it’s summer the family could have been watching a late movie or something who knows none of us were there, she thought her daughter was doing something good to help a neighbor not go out to hang out. Why a 15 year old boy who had issues and recently released from a detention center was allowed to run the streets at midnight is the real question, ya the other parents should have talked to his mother about his behavior earlier in the week, maybe called the cops who would have done nothing because technically a crime had not been committed yet. My heart breaks for her family, I could not even imagine the hurt. That boy had issues, and nobody seems to care that an obvious monster was created in him by who knows what, maybe lack of attention? Abuse? Abandonment, his rage came from somewhere in his own household and yet nobody wants to blame who created the monster just blame the mourning mother. I pray for that women, mistakes and bad judgment happen if it didn’t this would be a perfect world, but sadly it’s not and we all have to keep living in it.

      • Tiffany

        All of you that are making comments that are wrong should know better the ultimate one that can give judgment is God he’s going to have a lot of explaining to do so leave this family alone its none of your business and you have no reason to judge them he’s going to have a lot of explaining to do so leave this family alone it is none of your business and you have no reason to judge them


    The killer was recently released from juvenile detection on another charge. There is no place for him in decent society when he turns 21. He needs to be tried in the adult system for this murder.

  • James

    I live several houses down from the house of the boy who did this. I have known him for a few years and have had many conversations with him. I have seen him go from a nice kid, bright and inquisitive, to one who more recently was getting into trouble in the neighborhood trespassing into people’s yards and stealing things (mostly small items). He comes from a broken home and his mother has had her hands full raising him and two younger girls (one with special needs). The girls are sweet and adorable. As he became more unruiy and rebellious the mother couldn’t control him. She did seek counseling for him but that didn’t help. She had them put him in juvenile detention a couple months back and he was just recently released, a few days before this crime happened .
    What the negative posters here do not realize is that this boy looks and acts much younger than his age and appears quite innocent. He is also a smooth talker and can be very convincing and persistent. I and the people in the neighborhood who know him can easily picture him showing up at a doorstep appearing all distraught over trying to “find his missing pregnant cat” and “urgently needing help” .The girl’s mother I am sure thought they would just be looking on their short secluded street for a brief time. I doubt she waited very long before going out to look for her daughter, getting more frantic as time passed and then flagging down the police at the 7-11.
    i am grieving for the parents who lost their precious daughter. This family who was new to the neighborhood and probably coming from a more trusting area were taken in by an innocent looking kid with a convincing story they were just trying to help.
    Our whole neighborhood is in shock and morning, finding it difficult to believe this boy (as troubled as he was) was capable of such a heinous act. We were all blindsided!
    I and many others will be at the vigil tonight in full support of the victim’s family. I can only imagine the grief and pain they are going through. I would be inconsolable if it were my daughter who was murdered.

    • Tiffany

      I don’t care what this boy and his family is going through this time he’s the one that killed that child and he needs to pay for it

      • James

        Tiffany, I think you misread my post. I am in full agreement with you. The blame falls fully on the boy who did this, not the victim’s family or the boy’s family. Unfortunately he has turned into a sociopath. I shudder to think what would happen if he’s tried as a juvenile and let out in 6 years with a clean record. He should be tried as an adult and given a very long sentence. Then, if and when he gets out his record will follow him and hopefully help prevent this from ever happening again.

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  • ayala

    Were was the mother where she had to look after her kids.how did she now what time the girl left the house.they should invetagate her mother.

  • Bryan

    You people act like it was some random man that this mother let her daughter go out with, did you not read that part that it was a 15 year old child who lived in the neighborhood, they might not have known him well, but they probably seen him from time to time so she probably figured it was safe, NO ONE would think a 15 year old kid would do something like that, and you’re coming at the girls mother what about the boys parents? If anyone needs to be investigated it’s them, their letter had no effort put into it, why aren’t they being questioned.. My heart goes out to the family. Just remember you wouldn’t appreciate people questioning your parenting if you were in the situation…

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