An outpouring of support from neighbors for families of murdered 12-year-old girl and suspect now in custody

WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah (ABC 4 Utah) – As police are seen removing bags of evidence from the suspects home, the investigation turns to figuring out why? According to neighbors, the 15-year-old suspect was a “troublemaker,” and had a history of using drugs.

Megan Powell said she always kept her distance from the teen, “He’s kind of a troublemaker around the neighborhood, I guess, I don’t really – I just kinda stay away from him, I guess. He use to be friends with my little brother but my mom said he can’t be friends with him and she doesn’t want him hanging around.”

Neighbors paint a picture of a troubled teen who apparently had tried to lure other neighborhood children out of their homes the night Kailey Vijil died. It appears most were young girls like Mila Montano, who said she was approached by the teen just two days prior to Kailey’s death.

“He asked me, ‘do you want to go, I’ve been waiting for you to see my fort ’cause I’ve been setting it up and I want you to go see my fort in the backyard of an abandoned house, all we have to do is cut through it,’ and I said no,”

Montano quickly came up with a lie and told the teen she had to go inside to eat lunch. The teen also tried to lure a five-year-old from next door. Stephanie Salo recalls her interaction with the teen.

“You know the fact that the fifteen year old was asking if my five year old could come out and play, was just like uh…no! It was just kind of flabbergasting to know that, you know, if he did do it then my five-year-old niece is now safe.”

While investigators have a ton of evidence to pour over, the neighbors in the area are pitching in, doing everything they can to help.

“When the mother heard that we wanted to help out she was just, I could just feel the tears that were going in her eyes, because of the things that were going to take place,” said David Gomez.

Gomez had left a note on the Vijil family home early in the morning, asking how they could help. In a short while he was contacted by Kailey’s mother who welcomed the outpouring of support from the community.

When ABC 4 caught up with Gomez he had just finished delivering food to the Vijil family. The food was prepared by many in the neighborhood with the help of missionaries from Salt Lake City. They even knocked on the home of the suspect to deliver them food, but no one answered the door.

Other in the neighborhood also helped out. Jana Morrison lives just down the street from the Vijil’s home and spent the day going door to door telling people about the vigil planned for Sunday and placing purple ribbons – Kailey’s favorite color – on neighbors mailboxes.

For this community, their neighborhood is a family. They’re all gathering together to see this tragedy through, and helping both families heal in whatever way possible.

“They’re part of our family, so not only are we helping that family but the family of the young man that’s been accused of what had happened,” added Gomez.

Neighbors say Kailey’s family is overwhelmed with the support, and her mother has a message for the teen’s mother, who is accused of killing her daughter.

“Tears got in her eyes and she says, ‘please, let the other mother know that I hold no malice, no bad feelings towards her,’ she’s dealing more with what she has to deal with but, this poor mother is gonna have to deal with it for the rest of her life. What her son is accused of doing, so she wanted to make sure that mother knew that her prayers were for her also,” added Gomez.

A candlelight vigil is planned for tomorrow, Sunday, July 19 at the West Valley City Park on 3500 S, 4500 W.  Anyone interested in taking part are asked to bring a candle and to wear purple which was Kailey’s favorite color.  There has also been an account set up in Kailey Vijil’s name at the Granite Credit Union for anyone interested in helping the family.


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