Greeley police now searching for Kayleah’s killer
Associated Press Writer
Vail, CO Colorado
DENVER – Police Friday were examining a “mountain of evidence” and developing a list of people to re-interview about the disappearance and death of a 12-year-old girl.
Sixth-grader Kayleah Wilson’s body was recovered this week from an irrigation ditch in an industrial area about a half-mile from her house. Authorities ruled Kayleah’s death a homicide and say they know how she died, but they aren’t releasing details.
Police said they had no suspects but are looking at a range of individuals who had the time and opportunity to kill Kayleah and don’t have good alibis.
“We’re reviewing every detail that we developed when this was a missing person investigation, deciding which lead could be more fruitful, then prioritizing which people to talk to first,” Greeley Police spokesman Sgt. Joe Tymkowych said Friday.
Evidence gathered along the irrigation ditch earlier this week was also being processed for testing. Tymkowych would not disclose what investigators found.
Two eyewitnesses previously told police they saw Kayleah at the Greeley Mall March 28, about a half-hour after her mother said she left to attend a friend’s birthday party. Tymkowych said police also have surveillance video from near the mall showing a grainy figure that could be Kayleah.
Kayleah’s last known whereabouts are crucial in determining how her body ended up about a mile away from the mall, where a worker checking the ditch after a heavy rain found the body Wednesday.
Meanwhile Greeley, an agricultural community of about 93,000 people 65 miles north of Denver, grieved the death of Kayleah. A steady stream of parents and children, some in tears, visited the spillway in the ditch where Kayleah’s body was found. A makeshift memorial of teddy bears, candles, flowers and crucifixes grew on the grassy banks.
“It’s an open wound because whoever did this is still out there,” Melissa Lujan, whose daughter knew Kayleah said Thursday. “You know it’s bringing us together to where we watch our children more often, we tell them we love them, we kiss them goodnight, kiss them before they leave but just knowing that somebody could do this …
“How could they have a heart? How could they do this to a 12-year-old little girl? I don’t understand that.”
Cheryl Frendrich, whose grandson was friends with Kayleah, described her as a “happy little girl, full of life.”
“She was a great kid,” she said.
The decomposing body had been in the irrigation ditch “for some time” in an area that had been searched twice, Police Chief Jerry Garner said. Greeley is about 60 miles northeast of Denver.
Wilson’s March 28 disappearance spawned repeated searches by police, Greeley residents and the FBI. Authorities said they pursued more than 300 leads and knocked on the doors of about 1,000 homes.
No one has been ruled out as a suspect, but investigators have nothing that points to family members, Garner said.
In April, as leads from the public dwindled, authorities increased the reward for information about Wilson to $20,000. Investigators also described behavior that might point to a possible abductor. They urged people to watch for someone who had missed work, had unexplained injuries or shown an unexpected or sudden interest in the case.
Police met with Kayleah’s mother, April Wilson, before the public announcement. A victim’s advocate said Wilson did not want to speak with the media.