SALT LAKE CITY – Police searching for a missing 5-year-old girl in her neighbor's basement did not initially find the plastic storage box that contained her body because it was hidden deep in the cellar, authorities said.
The box containing Destiny Norton's body was in a "tight, confined basement with a lot of material down there," prosecutor Bob Stott said Thursday.
Destiny's body was found Monday night after the neighbor, Craig Roger Gregerson, told police where it was, authorities said.
Gregerson, 20, is accused of smothering Destiny and sexually assaulting her body. He was charged Thursday with kidnapping and aggravated murder. He was to appear in court Friday for appointment of an attorney.
Friends said Gregerson had volunteered to help search for the girl and lit a candle in a vigil outside the family's home before he led police to her body.
Destiny vanished July 16 from her backyard. Gregerson allegedly told the FBI that he had lured the girl into his row house unit two doors away from the Norton home.
"I cannot see how somebody could do this, then go out and light a candle and show up at the search center to volunteer," said Peter Brooks, a family friend who is speaking on behalf of Destiny's parents, Rich and Rachael Norton.
Prosecutors have not decided whether to seek the death penalty against Gregerson.
"Before any sentence can be given we have to get a conviction," Stott said.
Brooks said Gregerson should be executed.
"Let him fry," Brooks said. "He took an innocent child out of her own backyard. Your own backyard. That's where we send our children. Lured her into his house, and did the unspeakable act that he performed on this child. ... No human being deserves to walk on this planet after doing that."