SALT LAKE CITY — A 17-year-old Taylorsville boy was charged as an adult Thursday with dismembering his 15-year-old friend after stabbing him in the head more than two dozen times.
Rowdy Lee Aguilar is charged in 3rd District Court with aggravated murder, a first-degree felony, and three other charges in the death of Ivan Nickolas "Nick" Vetecnik on May 26.
Police noted the 17-year-old "has little criminal history, but seemingly out of nowhere, Aguilar brutally killed and dismembered his 15-year-old friend," according to charging documents.
Aguilar's father called police that day after finding a body in a cargo trailer he owns while he was looking for his son, the charges say. Officers noted the trailer "smelled strongly of cleaning agents" and found the dismembered body and cleaning supplies inside.
Court documents don't indicate any motive but say surveillance footage from both of the teenagers' homes shows the boys went into Aguilar's home that morning. In the afternoon, Aguilar emerged wearing a bloodied T-shirt and made two trips to a field behind his house, carrying a black trash bag the first time and a white garbage bag the second time, the charges state.
The bags appeared to be the same ones police found in a search of property around the trailer, and the limbs inside the bags were later identified by a medical examiner as Vetecnik's, prosecutors allege. Officers also found a knife in the trailer that they say matched Nick's injuries and other knives from Aguilar's home.
When police arrested him, they noticed he appeared to have blood on his right hand, pants, socks, and shoes, according to the court documents.
While Aguilar was waiting to be questioned at a police station, a camera captured him standing up, grabbing his handcuffs and pulling them, causing them to break free from the wall. He then tried to leave the room, the charges state.
In an interview with detectives, Aguilar allegedly said he didn't know Vetecnik and wasn't involved in his death, explaining that he had been at his girlfriend's house all day and had wounds on his hands from cutting himself while preparing ribs for a barbecue.
Aguilar later "admitted to being in the trailer with the victim and stated, 'I did it,'" according to the charges.
The Utah Office of the Medical Examiner determined Vetecnik was stabbed in the head 26 times, with one wound penetrating his skull and a fatal injury to his neck.
In the days after his death, friends and family recalled the 15-year-old as a "gentle giant" who was mourning the deaths of his parents. He lost his mother to cancer in 2019 and his father to a fatal heart attack in December, they said. He was planning to make the most of this summer by getting a job and going fishing.
Aguilar faces additional counts of obstructing justice, a second degree felony, along with escape from custody and abuse of desecration of a human body, both third-degree felonies.