After a high-speed chase with police, a 16-year-old Piute High School student was shot and killed on Sunday, and a 17-year-old boy was arrested in connection with her death.
Just before 10 p.m. shots were heard on Doc Springs Road, about four miles north of Circleville. Deputies from the Piute County Sheriff’s Office went to the scene. A statement from the sheriff’s office on Monday said that the body of a 16-year-old girl who had been shot to death was found near a dirt road about 15 minutes later.
The sheriff’s office told other deputies and agencies in the area to look for a blue Ford Ranger. The statement didn’t say how deputies knew to look for that car. A Sevier County sheriff’s deputy saw the car near Glenwood, Sevier County, just after 11 p.m. It was about 60 miles from Circleville.
“As the deputy attempted to stop the vehicle, the driver fled, leading officers in a high-speed chase, which ended near Salina,” according to the sheriff’s office.
A 17-year-old boy was taken into custody without any more trouble. Since then, the boy has been charged with aggravated murder in 6th District Juvenile Court, according to the sheriff’s office. However, Piute County Attorney Scott Burns is thinking about whether to “direct file” the teen, which would move his case into the adult system.
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The girl was a sophomore at Piute High School. Her name has not been released yet because her family needs to be told. On social media, family members who had already heard about the terrible event posted tributes.
“You were our baby, the youngest one yet the bravest one. I can’t put into words everything I want to say to you. I know you’re safe now, I hope you are living it up there with grandma and grandpa and all the fur babies. Don’t worry about the fur babies down here, it’s our turn to care for them,” one woman posted while expressing the sadness and “numbness” she feels.
“Thank you for always being my ray of sunshine. I am going to miss your presence every second of every day. Keep an eye on us from up there, I can’t wait to see you again. Remember you are so loved little baby.”
“We appreciate all the love and support but the details are too much to [bear] at this point. As for her killer, we hope the law falls as hard as possible on you and then some,” the post concluded.
Another relative posted, “Last night was the worst day of my entire existence… I am hurting beyond words. I am feeling a level of pain I never knew existed.”
In Piute County, Utah, a 17-year old boy shot his 16-year old girlfriend and left her dead on the side of the road.
Southern Utah is still reeling from the mass shooting of 8 by the father of an Enoch family after the mother filed for divorce.https://t.co/6ytXkydYul
— Kaz Weida (@kazweida) January 10, 2023
“I wish this were all a horrible nightmare, but it’s not. And you are gone, forever,” the message continued. “Please hug your loved ones. What I would give to tell you I love you and give you one last hug.” Marty Gleave, the sheriff of Piute, said that his county is “devastated.”
“We are a small county, and everyone knows this victim and her family,” he said in a statement. “Murders don’t happen where we live and so, as you can appreciate, everyone from Piute High School students, faculty and staff to friends and neighbours (are) in shock and reeling from this tragedy.”
The Piute School District said in a statement released Monday morning that their hearts and thoughts are with the girl’s family. They also told parents and students that counselors would be at school all week for anyone who needed to talk, but if parents chose to keep their kids home on Monday, their absences would be excused.
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