Police: Death of 10-year-old Kiaya Campbell a homicide investigation

THORNTON, Colo. -- Police said Friday night they are investigating the death of 10-year-old Kiaya Campbell as a homicide.

Earlier in the day, the Adams County Coroner’s Office confirmed the child's body found in Thornton on Thursday afternoon is that of Kiaya Campbell.

Campbell went missing Wednesday night. Her father told the Thornton Police Department that she and his girlfriend's 15-year-old son left home in the 12400 block of Forest Drive about 8 p.m. to walk to a nearby shopping center.

Kiaya Campbell (Photo: Thornton Police Department)

The teen told police they got separated when a rainstorm moved in. She was reported missing just before midnight.

An Amber Alert was issued Thursday, and officers and volunteers canvassed the area all day.

The child's body was found about 5:30 p.m. near East 128th Avenue and Jamsine Street, about one mile from the home.

"On behalf of the Thornton City Council, I want to express our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Kiaya Campbell," according to a statement by the Thornton mayor and city council.

"Today we mourn with all those in our city and beyond that feel the loss of such a beautiful child. We pray for strength and compassion for those close to Kiaya in the coming days and weeks.

"The Thornton community demonstrated its amazing spirit of togetherness and concern yesterday as literally hundreds of volunteers came together in a very short amount of time to help find Kiaya. Seeing all of these people with deep concern and resolve to help a child is a clear reminder for all to see that we live in a very special community.

"We also express our most sincere gratitude to all of the agencies and dozens of law enforcement and emergency personnel that came to aid in this effort. Thornton had teams from throughout the state, along with federal agencies, that responded quickly and effectively to help. Thornton’s close partnership with Adams County Five Star Schools was invaluable yesterday and we appreciate and admire the high level of responsiveness and access provided to our emergency personnel and the community we all serve.

"We also appreciate the patience of the community as our police department continues to look into the circumstances of this matter."

Police said they are not ruling anything out and that it's an active investigation.

Detectives met with the family on Thursday. No one is in custody. An exact cause of death has not been released, but the Adams County Coroner's Office confirms it is “other than accidental.”

A candlelight vigil will be held at 8:30 p.m. Saturday near the open space area between Jasmine and Monaco streets off East 128th Avenue.

The vigil was originally going to be held Friday night but because the area is still an active crime scene, police asked organizers to postpone it to Saturday.