Hundreds gather at candlelight vigil to honor life of Kiaya Campbell

Posted at 4:32 AM, Jun 11, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-11 15:28:10-04

NORTHGLENN, Colo. -- Three hours before people gathered to pay their respects to Kiaya Campbell, Thornton police cordoned off the area where the 10-year old’s body was found two days earlier.

Police tweeted they wanted to again check the area with trained search dogs in search of more clues that would give them more information about her death. Investigators said the girl was the victim of a homicide

Her body was found Thursday afternoon, lying face down in the grass, along a creek in the greenway near 128th Avenue and Monaco.

As more information regarding her death came to light, North Metro residents gathered near the area where she was found Saturday night for a candlelight vigil.

The organizer, Veronica Hines, said they weren’t there to speculate, they were there to remember Kiaya.

Several of the parents and children who gathered for the vigil used chalk to express their condolences. Some drew pictures, others wrote heartfelt messages.

“Te Amo (I love you) Rest in peace sweet girl,” said one message. 

“You will be missed love. You are with God’s angels now,” said another.

Many of the people attending the vigil never met the 10-year old.

“We don’t know the little girl and we can’t even speak to her,” said Rachel Salaz, “Nor will her family ever be able to, but hopefully, the messages that are on the sidewalk bring them some peace and comfort, knowing that they have so many people behind them.

“It’s the least we can do,” said Crystal Salaz, “I have a niece the same age as that little angel.”

“I know some of the family,” said Albert Anaya, who attended the vigil with his daughter. “My daughter is the same age as Kiaya. Many of us feel so helpless and devastated by it, so we just wanted to be here to show support.”

Pam Minto couldn’t attend the vigil, but earlier in the evening, she and her daughter brought flowers and placed them at the growing memorial.

“It was important,” she said. “We just wanted to come and pay our respects, now we’re going to go home and pray for the Thornton Police Department.”

A neighbor told Denver7 that he saw police dogs searching the area during the vigil.

“One of them barked, like he hit on something,” the neighbor said.

Shortly after the vigil, officers removed the police tape.

Police said they collected a large amount of evidence during their search Friday, and that the evidence will now be sorted and analyzed.

On Sunday, a 15-year-old boy was arrested in connection with Kiaya's death. 

The case is still ongoing.