Draper police Sunday night were trying to piece together what happened to a girl found dead in the Jordan River and who might have killed her.
Investigators have identified the girl, who is under the age of 18, but Draper police Sgt. Chad Carpenter said police are withholding her exact age and name until all of her family members are notified. The girl is from the South Valley area, Carpenter said, and her death is being treated as a homicide.
Carpenter confirmed the girl suffered wounds that made her bleed but declined to comment on the types of injuries suffered or what caused them.
A passerby about 10 a.m. Sunday saw a “substantial amount” of blood on the river trail near 12600 S. Jordan River Parkway Trail and called for help, according to Carpenter. A lone shoe was also discovered nearby. Police later confirmed the blood was human and launched an extensive search effort.
Officers in a helicopter spotted a body down river from where the blood was found, Carpenter said. The Salt Lake County Search and Rescue dive team recovered the body late in the afternoon.
Carpenter said police are waiting for an autopsy to determine the cause of death.
“She had some injuries that were consistent with the initial crime scene,” he said.
The girl was wearing a single shoe that matched the one abandoned along the river parkway when she was pulled from the river, Carpenter said.
At first investigators weren’t sure who the girl was, but the girl’s mother saw media reports about the discovery of the body and called police. Carpenter said the mother feared it might be her daughter because she hadn’t heard from her “for a bit.”
He wasn’t sure when the mother had last seen her child alive. He said detectives were also trying to determine when exactly the girl died and who she was last seen with.
Also, how she ended up along the trail in the first place remained a mystery. Carpenter said the shoe the girl was wearing wasn’t for jogging.
However, Carpenter said there have been no prior recent incidents on the trail in that area.
“I think this is an isolated incident with this young girl,” he said. “I don’t think it has anything to do with the trail.”
How to help
Draper police are asking anyone who may have seen suspicious activity along the Jordan River Trail to contact investigators at 801-840-4000.