WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah – Police questioned a person of interest Friday in the death of a 12-year-old girl whose body was found in an overgrown horse pasture near her home in suburban Salt Lake City.
The girl left her house sometime around midnight with someone her parents didn't know after speaking with him at the front door, authorities said.
West Valley City Police aren't providing details about the person they're speaking with, who isn't considered a suspect at this time. "We don't want the community to think this crisis is over," Police Chief Lee Russo said.
Police also are serving a search warrant on a home nearby in connection with the case, West Valley City police spokeswoman Roxeanne Vainuku said.
The girl's body was found after her mother got worried when she didn't come right home. She told two officers at a nearby convenience store that her daughter was missing at around 1:30 a.m.
Police narrowed the search using the girl's cellphone signal, honing in on the large, overgrown pasture about four blocks from her home and finding a depression in the grass where investigators think she was killed.
Her body was discovered at about 3 a.m. Police said there was "evidence of trauma" on her body, though authorities declined to specify how she died.
Her name was not immediately released. The family placed a handwritten sign on their house Friday asking for privacy.
Neither the girl nor her family had a history of run-ins with police, she said. A member of the family knew she was leaving, but it's unclear how much her parents knew.
"This isn't about parenting," Russo told reporters during a press conference. "What we are investigating in the death of a 12-year-old girl."