Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Missing Teen: Kayla Campbell Body Found

Kayla Campbell from her blog, Shedding Petals.

Kayla Campbell from her blog, Shedding Petals.

At about 1:15 p.m. on Wednesday, December 12, 2012, searchers began the process of draining the pond in Mint Hill, North Carolina, where they had found the bicycle of missing teen Kayla Campbell, 16, earlier this week. Roughly 11 hours later, they found Kayla’s dead body in the pond. The Mecklenburg County Coroner’s Office is being asked to examine the body and determine a cause of death. So far police have not released any further details.

Searchers had decided to go back to the pond, which divers had already searched, to drain it in hopes of finding more evidence of the missing teen. When a local contractor offered to drain it for them, they accepted. Investigators had four water pumps installed at the lake Wednesday afternoon. Also they announced, “We need anyone to come forward who may have seen Kayla on Sunday between 3:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m., specifically in the areas of Highway 51, Fairview Road, Lawyers Road and Bartlett Road where Kayla often rides her bike.”

Kayla vanished on December 9, it seems on her way home. She had gone out on her bike around 2:30 that afternoon, telling her family that she would be back in a few hours. WBTV.com reports that minutes before her parents expected her to arrive home Kayla called to say that she was five minutes away. She never came home. At the time police did not suspect foul play, but notified the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and issued a Silver Alert. Silver Alerts are often thought of as Amber Alerts for the elderly, but it varies by state. North Carolina has expanded to criteria for activating a Silver Alert to include any person believed to be missing — regardless of circumstance or cognitively impaired — regardless of age.

Her brother josh confirmed earlier this week that Kayla had been struggling with depression, but that she was getting the professional help she needed, and was improving. Friends have been looking to her Tumblr account, where Kayla is known as Shedding Petals, for answers. Her last post dated December 9,

“I woke up to his voice.

I’m actually glad I woke up.”

Another blog, possibly of a boyfriend, says that the last words he heard from Kayla were, “I love you so much I love you.” The link “Her<3″ at the top of the page links to Kayla’s blog. The writer implies throughout that Kayla killed herself. Many, though not all, suicides leave some sort of word or a note, and many leave their bodies where they will be found. Police reported that they did receive some tips in the days leading up to the discovery of Kayla’s body, but they are not elaborating. Investigators are examining the family computer, and it is hoped, will be forthcoming with answers soon.

Missing Child Alert: Kayla Campbell

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