A 16-year-old acquaintance has been detained in the murder of Kaytlynn Cargill, a teenage girl who disappeared while walking her dog, Bedford, Texas police announced on September 1.
The body of Kaytlynn, 14, was found in an Arlington landfill.
Kaytlynn was remembered for her smile and her intelligence that, in the words of a teacher who spoke at a memorial for the teen, “shined through everything about her.”
Bedford police did not release the suspect’s name or any other details, but they said the detention was made in connection with Kaytlynn’s death. “We want to take this opportunity to reassure our community that they are not at risk,” police said in a news release announcing the update in the case, which had frightened many people in the area.
However, court documents obtained by NBC 5 showed that police accuse the teen of murdering Cargill with a hammer during a marijuana sale. Police were led to the suspect by a digital message allegedly between him and the victim relating to a drug transaction by a pool, and blood spatters were found in an apartment, the document said.
The body, found June 21, was positively identified as Kaytlynn, who had been missing since June 19. In August, police revealed that the death had been ruled a homicide.
She vanished while walking her dog.
“We are working diligently” to find answers in the case, Police Chief Jeff Gibson said in a June 23 news conference. “We have nothing that points to a risk to our community as further danger,” he said then, without elaborating on why he thought there was no further risk. “We have an unknown situation…we have no information that leads us to believe this is an ongoing situation.”
Asked by a reporter, “Do you believe she was killed by somebody?” the chief replied “We simply can’t answer that” initially.
You can watch the live video of the previous news conference in the case here:
According to the Fort-Worth Star Telegram, a worker at the landfill was the person who discovered the body.
“A deceased young female was found by an employee among the trash left by a hauler, just before 2 p.m…It is not known when the body was dumped at the landfill,” the newspaper reported.
A friend remembered Kaytlynn for her “bright smile” and lamented all that she won’t get to do.
It’s not clear how exactly Cargill died.
“We are shocked and saddened with this tragic news,” Bedford police said at the time that Kaytlynn’s body was discovered.
The girl lived about three miles from the landfill, according to The Fort Worth Star Telegram.
A friend launched a GoFundMe page to help Kaytlynn’s family. It features a photo of the girl with a baseball bat in a baseball uniform.
The teen had been last seen walking the dog at about 6:20 p.m. on June 19, a Monday night, according to the Bedford police statement.
“When Kaytlynn did not return after about 30 minutes, her parents began looking for her, according to the police statement.
By 8 p.m., Kaytlynn’s parents reported her missing to police. A family member wrote on Facebook before Kaytlynn’s body was found that people should share a missing person poster, writing, “We are still hopeful and praying. Thank you to everyone who is sharing and spreading our baby girl Kaytlynn Cargill all over the nation. We hear your prayers and love.” In another post, she wrote, “Please help bring my baby home! We miss her and need her.”
Kaytlynn’s dog was discovered unharmed tied up in a nearby dog park, according to The Star Telegram. All of the posts on the teen’s Facebook page are of animals, and her profile picture was of a dog.
Another woman wrote on Facebook before Kaytlynn was found, “Please keep eye out in Texas for Kaytlynn Cargill…. She dresses like a ‘tom boy’ most days, often seen wearing a baseball cap very sweet young lady! If you have ANY information, please reach out to me or the contact number in this post below…. Please lord keep her safe until she comes home.”
In their initial report to the public, Bedford police called Kaytlynn a “missing person” and said that an Amber Alert was not authorized because she was not believed to be in danger.
Initially, police treated Kaytlynn’s case as a possible runaway. “No information led us to believe that Kaytlynn had been abducted” at first, the police chief said. Kaytlynn’s mother and stepfather said that Kaytlynn might be at a friend’s house at first, Gibson said. Police said they issued community message alerts and distributed bulletins with Kaytlynn’s information on them.
“There are specific criteria that law enforcement personnel have to follow in terms of issuing an Amber Alert,” Gibson said.
Since she went missing, the community had mobilized in an effort to find Kaytlynn, hanging missing posters throughout town. Bedford is a suburb of Fort Worth, Texas.