By Jamie Leary
THORNTON, Colo. (CBS4) – Thornton police have arrested a 15-year-old boy in connection with the murder of Kiaya Campbell, 10.
Kiaya disappeared on Wednesday while walking home with the 15-year-old son of her father’s girlfriend. When he returned home without Kiaya, he told police they were separated in a rainstorm.
Thornton police cannot release more on child arrested because of his age but say he was arrested at 11:38 p.m. Saturday for investigation of first-degree murder.
A growing memorial has been placed along the walkway near where Kiaya’s body was found. Her death is bringing strangers together. Many in the Thornton community are angry but trying to keep a strong front for Kiaya’s family.
“A child is probably the hardest thing to lose. While we don’t all have that same pain, we still love and embrace and want to be there for you,” Veronica Hines said.
Hines is one of many strangers in the community who helped pull together a vigil Saturday night for Kiaya.
“I didn’t realize how quickly it would come together. I couldn’t be more proud to live in this area,” she said.
Hines said the vigil was put together quickly but had many helping hands. Walmart, Home Depot, Pizza Hut and Panera all donated food, tables and chairs to the event. It raised more than $300 in cash.
Kiaya’s family has not publicly reacted to the tragedy but her mother did start a GoFundMe page which has raised thousands of dollars. On it her mother wrote, “This beautiful soul was stolen from us. We appreciate everything everyone has done in this situation. Now we just appreciate anything anyone can do to help out her to rest. I can’t thank everyone personally one on one and I am sorry for that. I do want to say that We are so thankful that so many of you are helping our baby rest. As her memorial comes we will inform everyone about it.”
Kiaya was an active YouTube user and very much appeared to be a normal, bubbly, 10 year old girl. She can be seen signing and dancing, debuting school projects and showing off her latest Pokémon cards. It’s this thought the community is having the hardest time dealing.
“She’s a kid. She deserved better. She deserved a life,” said neighbor Deborah Porter. “I have a daughter her age and I just can’t imagine what her parents are feeling.”
The community is already brainstorming ways to make sure Kiaya will always be remembered. Neighbors say the support they’ve received from one another has been crucial.
“I think it’s amazing and I think it can restore our faith in other people. Not everybody is like the person who did this to her. Most people are really great people who care about someone they’ve never even met and I think it’s amazing.” Said Porter.
Jamie Leary joined the CBS4 team in 2015. She is currently a reporter for CBS4 This Morning, which means she is always on the go, covering a wide variety of breaking local news and important local events. Connect with her on Facebook or Twitter @JamieALeary.