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Thornton Police make arrest in Kiaya Campbell death

Unamed 15-year-old investigated for first degree murder


Thornton Police have arrested a 15-year-old  boy in connection with the death last week of 10-year-old Kiaya Campbell.

Thornton Police spokesman Victor Avila said he could not confirm the identity of the juvenile male, who was arrested just before midnight June 10. The boy was taken to the Adams County Juvenile Detention facility and is being investigated for first-degree murder.

Police found the body of the girl June 8 near 128th and Jasmine in Thornton. She was last reportedly seen about 9 p.m. on June 7.

Kiaya Campbell, of  Montbello, was the subject of a citywide search Thursday. She had been visiting her father in Thornton when she disappeared.

According to police, she had been walking at about 9 p.m. Wednesday with the 15-year-old son of her father's girlfriend to a shopping center near 136th Avenue and Colorado Boulevard. The pair had reached the 12900 block of Colorado Boulevard when they were separated during a rainstorm.

When asked if the 15-year-old who had last seen Campbell and the boy arrested were the same, Avila declined to comment. The case is still being investigated, he said.

Police began searching the area after 6 a.m. Thursday, with crews from Rampart Search and Rescue. According to witnesses, the crews were concentrating searches on canals, ditches and lakes in the area Thursday morning.

Thornton Police, working with agents from the Colorado Bureau of Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, issued an Amber Alert at 1:30 p.m. June 8 followed by a call for volunteers to participate in a walking search of the area, centered around Skyview Elementary School. Volunteers began gathering but police called off the search, saying a body had been found near 128th and Jasmine Court.

The body was found roughly two miles east of where Campbell was last seen and about a mile from her father's Thornton home, police spokesman Matt Barnes said.

According to a statement issued by the Thornton Police at 4 p.m. Friday, the Adams and Broomfield County Coroner's office positively identified Campbell's body and stated the cause of death was "other than accidental."

Thornton Police declared the case a homicide in a tweet just after 7 p.m. Friday, saying they had collected a large amount of evidence that still needed to be sorted and analyzed.

Police continued "... a slow methodical search of the area.." around 128th and Jasmine and Holly Friday.

Mayor Heidi Williams issued a letter of condolence to the family of the girl Friday afternoon on behalf of the Thornton City Council.

"We pray for strength and compassion for those close to Kiaya in the coming days and weeks," the statement read. "The Thornton community demonstrated its amazing spirit of togetherness and concern yesterday as literally hundreds of volunteers came together in a very short amount of time to help find Kiaya. Seeing all of these people with deep concern and resolve to help a child is a clear reminder for all to see that we live in a very special community."

Roughly 350 people attended a candlelight vigil for the girl June 10 near 128th and Jasmine, where she was found June 8.

“We’re here to support the family any way we can even though we didn’t know this little angel,” said Crystal Salaz, “This is the least we can do, because it’s so close to home and we brought my nieces out, so they could see what it is to help people who are grieving.”


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