A teen whose body was found Wednesday morning in Sugar House was a homicide victim, according to Salt Lake City police.
Salt Lake City police Detective Josh Ashdown confirmed Wednesday that Kenyatta Winston, 16, had been shot. His body was found by a construction crew in a vacant lot bordered by two houses near 1120 E. Crandall Ave. (about 2900 South) about 7:30 a.m.
Winston was last seen Sunday night. His friends and family have told police that they don't know why the Salt Lake City teen would have been in that neighborhood. They said they didn't know of any connection he had to the area. The family declined to comment directly to The Tribune.
Anyone with information about why Winston was there is urged to call the Salt Lake City Police Department at 801-799-3000 or text 274637 and begin the message with "tipslcpd."
The city's Tips-for-Cash program offers a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to an arrest in this case. Reference case number 12-151293.
Ashdown said he didn't know whether Winston had been reported missing. Investigators would not say whether there was evidence Winston had been shot where his body had been found or whether it was placed there.
They also did not release information about what clothing, if any, Winston was wearing or how they identified his body.
Neighbors in the area where the body was discovered say they would have heard a gunshot if Kenyatta had been killed there. Neighbors said police believe the body had been there since Sunday night.
Falleen Hardy said the news was "unsettling."
"They must have dumped him here," she said. "We would have heard a gunshot, it is super quiet here."
She said someone would have to know the area, or know people in the area to even know about the covered-over canal tucked in between homes.
Dave Benson lives a few yards from where the body was found. He said he is a light sleeper and would have heard arguing or something if the crime took place there. He said Wednesday morning several police cars pulled up at the empty lot next to his house where construction materials were being stored, followed by nearly two dozen more, blocking access to both sides of the block.
"It is a little crazy to go through this," Benson said. "You hate to see something like this happen."
A construction worker was walking in the area and found the body near some bushes, Benson said police told him.
Initially police told him they thought it was an overdose, but asked him if he heard any gunshots. A few hours later, they told him the teen had been shot and they were looking for a backpack and phone in the area.