Family Of Murdered Girl Outraged After Convicted Killer Accidentally Released From Jail
Sep 2, 2019, 7:17 PM | Updated: Jan 4, 2023, 11:54 am
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The family of a 12-year-old girl who was raped and murdered is outraged that her killer was accidentally let out of jail.
Four years after Kailey Vijil’s death, family and friends took a solemn stance Monday in her memory. They also gathered together to talk about what they’re calling an injustice.
“We cherish every moment that we had with her. We won’t have that moment anymore,” said Madeline Greymountain, a spokesperson for the Vijil family. “The family would be devastated to have any other family go through the last four years of hell.”
On July 16, 2015, a 15-year-old boy lured 12-year-old Kailey away from her home, asking her to help him find his lost cat. Her body was discovered about three hours later in a horse pasture.
Jayden Matthew Sterzer, who is now 19, was convicted of raping and murdering Kailey. Because he was a juvenile at the time, he was ordered to be held in a youth detention center until he turned 21.
On Aug. 20, Sterzer allegedly assaulted a staff member at the detention center. Police were called and he was taken to jail.
But six days later, no formal assault charges were filed. Sterzer was let out of jail, which is typical protocol.
Sheriff Rosie Rivera said it was because officials weren’t told who Sterzer was.
“When he was booked in, nobody knew who he was,” Rivera said. “He was just booked in and we waited for the charges and there were no charges so he was released.”
The juvenile detention center said it did try to alert the jail, but they sent Sterzer’s case history by fax machine. That fax machine was no longer in service.
The district attorney’s office found out about Sterzer’s release, issued a new arrest warrant and Sterzer was re-arrested four hours later.
Greymountain said there is a flaw in the system.
“There is nothing that will bring Kailey back and forever the family’s hearts have been changed,” she said. “But the least that can be done is full justice with competence. The message to all those handling offenders is do your job right. Protect the public and take responsibility.”
Rivera said the jail has already taken several steps on their end to make sure something like this doesn’t happen again.
“If we find out that there is either a high profile or a very violent individual such as this individual, we will make a phone call to the arresting agency and say hey, we’re going to be releasing him,” Rivera said. “You failed to file. You need to get paperwork in. So that way it never happens on our part again.”