DENVER — A 16-year-old girl was taken into custody Tuesday night on suspicion of first-degree murder after a young boy was found dead inside a home in northeast Denver, a spokesperson for the Denver Police Department said at a Wednesday news conference.
Commander Joe Montoya would not name the teenager nor would he explain the relationship of the teenager to the child at the press conference.
Jordan Vong, 7, was reported missing out of his home in the 4900 block of Fairplay Street at 4:30 p.m. on Monday when family members called the DPD Communication Center saying they hadn't seen him for two hours, Montoya said.
Police arrived at the home 15 minutes later and did a cursory search of the home. Montoya explained that officers hoped the child was just playing a game or hiding from family. After patrol officers couldn't find the boy, they called members of the Missing and Exploited Persons Unit.
After detectives arrived on scene, another search of the home was done. Montoya told 9NEWS the hope there was that maybe officers had missed something - otherwise a host of other law enforcement resources would need to be called in.
The child wasn't found and more resources were called in, including a reverse-911 call to everyone living as far as a mile away from the missing boy's home, a police chopper to do an aerial search, the FBI and their Safe Streets Task Force, and a social media push.
Law enforcement searched the 20 blocks surrounding the home for Vong and did a canvas of the neighborhood, Montoya said.
DPD did consider an Amber Alert, but got in touch with the Colorado Bureau of Investigation and decided that because there was no immediate evidence to say the boy was abducted, an Amber Alert wasn't sought, according to Montoya.
Instead, Denver police issued an "Endangered Missing Persons" alert to other local law enforcement agencies in Colorado.
Through the course of the investigation, detectives realized they would need to do a more thorough search of the family's home on Fairplay Street. Montoya refused to explain what led officers back to the home or why detectives sought a search warrant for the home.
At 8:26 p.m. on Tuesday, investigators returned to the home on Fairplay Street and executed a search warrant; Vong's remains were found hidden in the home. That's when investigators took the 16-year-old into custody on suspicion of first-degree murder, Montoya explained.
It will be up to the District Attorney's Office to decide the final charges the teenager will face, according to DPD. The Coroner's Office will determine the final cause of death.
Montoya would not give any more details on the case, including the relationship the unidentified teenager had to Vong, what led investigators back to the house, where the boy was found, or if anyone else might be charged.
He said the family was cooperating as far as he knew and said when they learned of the child's death they had "some natural, human reactions."
The commander commended his officers and detectives, saying he was impressed with their dedication and earnest hope they'd find the boy alive. He thanked the community and news media for their help getting the word out.
On Wednesday evening, classmates, school friends and community members gathered at a vigil for Vong.