LOCAL NEWS

Utah teen dead, 17-year-old charged with aggravated murder

Jan 9, 2023, 12:57 PM | Updated: 9:47 pm

PIUTE COUNTY, Utah — A 16-year-old Utah girl is dead and a 17-year-old boy has been charged in juvenile court with aggravated murder.

Piute County Sheriff’s Office responded to a report of shots fired Sunday evening at approximately 9:57 p.m. on Doc Springs Road, approximately four miles north of Circleville.

The body of the teen girl who was fatally shot, was located near a dirt road.

The victim’s family confirmed to KSL that the victim was 16 years old, Jacquline Nunez.

Piute High School made a Facebook post Monday postponing its homecoming week events, and canceling Monday’s extra-curricular activities. Because of the schools cancellation it is presumed, but not confirmed, that she was a student.

“Teachers, Staff, Counselors, Coaches, and community leaders are all at the High School today offering services and working with students to try and comprehend the loss of their classmate and friend,” a press release from the Piute County Sheriff’s Department.

A screenshot of Piute High School’s Facebook post.

According to the office, they put out information in an attempt to locate a blue Ford Ranger.

“At approximately 11:03 p.m. a Sevier County Sheriff’s Deputy located the suspect vehicle traveling east near Glenwood, Utah. As the Deputy attempted to stop the vehicle, the driver fled, leading Officers in a high-speed chase, which ended near Salina, Utah. The male suspect, 17 years of age, was taken into custody without incident.”

Police conducted interviews, and obtained search warrants and as of Monday, the suspect has been charged in the Sixth District Juvenile Court with Aggravated Murder.

A detention hearing was held Monday at 11:30 a.m. and the suspect will remain in custody.

Gleave stated in the release that he is working with Piute County Attorney Scott Burns, to consider a “direct file,” to try the suspect as an adult.

A decision will be made later Monday afternoon about whether the suspect will be tried as an adult.

“It takes the partnership of agencies to make sure that the person charged receives all of his constitutional rights and, in the same breath, that we marshal the evidence in order to hold the guilty accountable,” Gleave said. “Our county is devastated, we are a small county, and everyone knows this victim and her family. 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 neighbors) is in shock and reeling from this tragedy.”

Piute County School District released a statement regarding a “critical student incident” that happened Sunday evening.

The statement offers counseling services available to all students and that school absences will be excused today.

The names of the suspect and the victim will not be released at this time to allow for family members of the victim to be contacted.

The full statement from the district states:

“A critical student incident took place last night. Our hearts and thoughts are with the family. We want all our students to know that we are here to help in any way we can. If parents choose to hold their students out of school today, those absences will be excused.

We will have counselors available to help students and the school community that may need someone to talk to at this time. Staff from Central Utah Counseling, Mr. Jessen, and Dr. Troy Allan will be available throughout the day. If Students would like to talk to a counselor, they need only let their teacher know.

The schools will have additional help and support for students throughout the week. There are other resources available to family and community members listed on the school district website piutek12.org.”

The killing follows another high-profile Utah-violence case where police say a Enoch, Utah man shot his family of seven dead and then took his own life.

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Utah teen dead, 17-year-old charged with aggravated murder