Closed competency hearing underway for teen charged in girl's death

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SALT LAKE CITY — A four-day competency hearing for a teenage boy accused of raping and killing his 12-year-old neighbor is underway, but remains closed to the public.

The hearings will address whether the teen — who was 15 when prosecutors say he lured Kailey Vijil from her home, raped and strangled her, and abandoned her body in a field — is capable of understanding the charges against him and facing court proceedings.

The teen's attorneys have said since his initial court appearance that they don't believe he understands what is happening in the case.

The boy, who turned 17 last month, is charged in juvenile court with first-degree felony counts of aggravated murder and rape of a child. Prosecutors have said they intend to request that he face both charges as an adult.

KSL News has chosen not to name the boy at this time.

Police say the West Valley boy went to Kailey's door late at night on July 17, 2015, and asked her to help him look for a lost cat. Her body was discovered by searchers about three hours later in a horse pasture near her home.

A search warrant revealed the young girl was found naked, her Batman pajamas strewn on the ground near her body and a shirt wrapped around her neck. Evidence on her body, including blood and fresh scratches, signaled a possible sexual assault, police wrote.

A medical examiner determined Kailey died of strangulation.

DNA evidence on Kailey's body matched the teen, according to court documents. The boy later told police that he was in the field with Kailey during the time she was missing.

West Valley police believe the boy had attempted to entice several other young girls out of their homes before Kailey.

KSL and the Deseret News filed a motion seeking access to the proceedings, which 3rd District Juvenile Judge Jim Michie denied after brief argument was made Tuesday. The issue will be raised again at a Dec. 16 hearing regarding media and public access to preliminary and certification proceedings.


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McKenzie Romero


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