Questions remain on identity of body found in Greeley

9:24 PM, May 19, 2010   |    comments
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The coroner has not determined the identification of the body and Greeley Police say the earliest information will come is Thursday afternoon. Kayleah has been missing for nearly two months.

There was a mixture of emotions Wednesday night in Greeley as friends and family held a tearful candlelight vigil, waiting anxiously to learn if the body could be lead to the outcome they've feared for months.

9NEWS spoke to Michelle Thompson, a friend of the family who says April Wilson, Kayleah's mother, is heartbroken to learn of Wednesday's discovery.

"She's at a loss, along with the rest of us," Thompson said.

9Wants to Know has learned the body, found about 6 a.m. in a ditch near 29th Street and 35th Avenue, is so badly decomposed that investigators cannot tell whether it is male or female and are unable to determine the person's age.

The body has been underwater for a "substantial amount of time," a source tells 9Wants to Know.

The Weld County Corner could use dental records to positively identify the body. If that is not possible due to the body's condition, DNA testing could be used.

Results of DNA tests can take several weeks.

Investigators are looking into whether the body could have been laying elsewhere and Tuesday's storms could have dislodged the body and carried it down a ditch.

"There was very heavy rain in Weld County for a prolonged period of time with the storms Tuesday night," said 9NEWS Meteorologist Kathy Sabine.

The National Weather Service tells 9Wants to Know downtown Greeley received between 1.23 and 1.43 inches of rain Tuesday night.

Greeley Police Sgt. Joe Tymkowych says the body was found in about three feet of water, behind the old Kendall Printing location in a commercial area, near a school and a church.

According to Tymkowych, an employee of a ditch company was doing a routine check of the ditch when he spotted the body and alerted authorities. The worker checks the ditch daily and he told police he assumes the body was not there on Tuesday.

Investigators are attempting to determine how the body came to be in the ditch.

"It's hard to say if this was deposited here or if it was here and it was just now uncovered," Tymkowych said.

The body was found in an area near where 12-year-old Kayleah Wilson went missing on March 28. Kayleah was last seen leaving her home to walk to a friend's birthday party, but never arrived.

When asked directly if the body was that of Kayleah, Tymkowych said, "We cannot rule that possibility out."

Tymkowych says given the size of the body, it is "a possibility" it is Kayleah.

Friends of the Wilson family and nearby residents began arriving at the scene Wednesday.

"I'm hoping that it is her. That way we can lay her to rest, the family can have some closure, friends have closure," Cindy Rogers, a family friend of the Wilsons, said. "It'd be nice to find her."

Kayleah's friend Shelly Culver, 18, described Kayleah as outgoing and said she loved to draw. "Kayleah would not be the kind of person to run away," she said.

Melissa Lynch, 31, whose daughter goes to school at nearby Frontier Academy, said, "To a lot of us that live here that have kids, it's more than just 'that Greeley girl."'

A victim's advocate at the home of Kayleah's mother, April Wilson, said Wilson declined to comment Wednesday.

Tymkowych says the area has been searched at least twice since Kayleah's disappearance. He would not say if there were any items with the body which could indicate its identity.

"We can't identify the items that we've found," Tymkowych said.

Tymkowych says the coroner will perform an autopsy on the body to try to determine its identity and cause of death. Investigators planned to use dental records and possibly DNA and hair fibers to identify the body.

According to Tymkowych, an "intense search" was planned of the area along the canal where the body was found.

It was not immediately known how long the body had been there.

Presuming the body is not identified as Kayleah's, or if there is no identification by the weekend, friends of the family say they will search for her again this weekend. The search will be in Johnstown at the Milliken Police Department from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

If you have information about this story or a tip for 9Wants to Know Investigator Jace Larson, call 303-871-1432 or e-mail

(KUSA-TV © 2010 Multimedia Holdings Corporation with The Fort Collins Coloradoan and The Associated Press)

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