THORNTON, Colo. — City of Thornton officials confirmed Friday afternoon that a body found amid a search for a missing 10-year-old is indeed that of Kiaya Campbell, who had gone missing Wednesday night.
Her death is now being investigated as a homicide, according to an official with the Thornton Police Department.
UPDATE: Investigation being deemed homicide. Large amount of evidence collected during today's search to be sorted and analyzed. #Kiaya
Police said they have also collected a "large amount of evidence" during the investigation amounting to approximately more than 100 pieces of evidence, according to Denver7 reporter Liz Gelardi. That evidence will now be sorted and analyzed by investigators.
Police in Thornton have been investigating the body since finding it amid a large-scale search on Thursday. The search amplified to dozens of citizen volunteers along with 23 different agencies after the Colorado Bureau of Investigation issued an AMBERAlert for the missing girl.
Authorities said the girl had gone missing Wednesday night during a heavy rainstorm, saying she had been with a 15-year-old acquaintance while walking from her father's house to a shopping center when the two got separated in the storm.
Late Thursday they located a body just two miles from where the 10-year-old had last been seen, suspending the search.
The Adams County Coroner's Office positively identified Kiaya Campbell's body on Friday afternoon. Without giving additional details, the coroner explained the death was "other than accidental."
Heidi Williams, Thornton Mayor, released the following statement.
On behalf of the Thornton City Council, I want to express our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Kiaya Campbell. Today we mourn with all those in our city and beyond that feel the loss of such a beautiful child. We pray for strength and compassion for those close to Kiaya in the coming days and weeks.
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.
Police say they will release additional updates as their investigation progresses. They did not provide any official updates through 4 p.m.
"This is an active investigation and we want to have a successful conclusion and a successful prosecution if we do find the person responsible," the spokesperson said.
A vigil to remember the girl will be held at 8:30 p.m. Saturday near the area where her body was found at 128th Avenue between Jasmine and Monaco. Community members are asked not to park along 128th Avenue and instead in the Walmart parking lot or the nearby strip mall.