Remains identified as missing teenager, Kayla Chadwick of Fort Morgan

Chadwick missing since March 2012

FORT MORGAN, Colo. - Remains found near Fort Morgan have been identified as missing teenager Kayla Chadwick, Fort Morgan Police said Thursday.

"She was murdered and we’re seeing justice," Chadwick's aunt Chris Ferguson told 7NEWS.

Chadwick was 17 when she disappeared in March 2012. Police have said that Chadwick disappeared after an argument with her boyfriend, 19-year-old Ivan Torralba. The two were both seniors at Fort Morgan High School when she disappeared.

Ferguson is blaming Torralba for Chadwick's disappearance and death.

"Biggest thing (Kayla) did wrong was love the wrong person," Ferguson said, describing Kayla as a good girl who wanted to be a nurse.

However, police aren't yet identifying Torralba as a suspect or a person of interest but that may be a matter of semantics.

"Obviously, Ivan was the last one to see her alive ...  and that is, obviously, the direction we are going to take,"  Fort Morgan police Lt. Jared Crone said.

Crone said he doesn't believe the public should be concerned about a killer on the loose.

In the last week, Fort Morgan police said they had found new evidence in the case but would not clarify what kind of evidence, saying they did not want to compromise the investigation.

Then on Thursday, Fort Morgan police confirmed that human remains were found on June 27 in the 19500 block of Morgan County Road W. The remains were found about a mile east of Highway 52 and the Fort Morgan Municipal Airport.

"We've received recent information within the last three weeks and based on that information we were able to go to a couple locations ... one of which is where we found Kayla's remains," Crone said.

Police said the cause of Chadwick's death remains unknown.

"It is more than a missing person, we just don't know the cause or manner of death at this point and that's really going to be key to what direction we eventually take this case," Crone said.

Officers rearrested Chadwick's boyfriend and arrested his mother last month.

On June 18, police were executing a search warrant at the Torralba family home in connection with the Chadwick investigation.

While at the home, police rearrested Torralba -- who was free on $75,000 bond -- because he was found to be in possession of marijuana and he is under 21, the minimum age a person can legally possess pot under Colorado law, Fort Morgan police Lt. Jared Crone said. The drug charge violated Torralba's bond conditions.

Police also arrested Torralba's mother, 46-year-old Lucila Torralba, on charges that she committed perjury while testifying before the grand jury and for attempting to influence a public servant. She is free on bond.

Ivan Torralba is currently in custody on $275,000 bond.

Ivan Torralba was initially arrested in November 2012 after a grand jury indicted him for perjury, tampering with evidence and attempting to influence a public servant. Authorities have said Torralba gave false testimony to a grand jury and tampered with evidence in the investigation into Chadwick's disappearance. However, he has not been charged with committing a crime against Chadwick.

But the case isn't over, it's just taking a different direction, Crone said.

"We've invested so much time and energy into this  -- countless man hours, numerous reports. We have well over 200 reports that officers have done at this point and still several in the last few weeks. The case has never been cold in our mind. We've literally, every single week, we've had some kind of involvement whether through information or re-interviewing people that have been related to the case, it's just constant," Crone said.

"With the 22 years I've been here, we haven't had anything this extensive  ... any missing persons case for this long .. it's very unusual," Crone said. "I can't remember the last homicide we had. I believe it was October 2010 was the last one we had."

Chadwick's family told 7NEWS they are planning a memorial service for Kayla and to thank all the volunteers who have been out searching for her. A date and location for the service have not been determined.

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