West Wendover police recover missing girl's body from a shallow grave west of town

Published: Sunday, March 6 2011 8:44 p.m. MST

WEST WENDOVER, Nev. — The West Wendover police chief tentatively reported Sunday night the body of a missing 16-year-old girl was found in a shallow grave west of the town. 

"We did find a young female in (the grave) and it has tentatively been identified as Micaela Costanzo," said West Wendover police Sgt. Dave Wiskerchen during a press conference Sunday night. 

Costanzo was last seen leaving track practice at 5:15 p.m. Thursday. Her mother, Celia Costanzo spoke at the conference, thanking the Wendover community and professional agencies for finding her daughter and pleading for people to come forward with information. 

"This is not over yet until the person or persons responsible are brought to justice," she said. 

A volunteer discovered the shallow grave in the desert west of town Saturday. He was driving on a rural road when he saw something unusual and noticed the ground had been stirred. Police kept people away Sunday while they set up tents and worked at the site.

"Many of our staff has referred to it as divine intervention," said West Wendover Police Chief Ronn Supp, of the volunteers unlikely discovery. "I fully believe that."

Supp said they don't have a suspect or person of interest but they are getting leads "all the time. There is no reason to suspect a serial killer was involved, Supp said.

"The things that are coming to us don't indicate that type of activity,' he said.

Wiskerchen would not comment on the cause of death.

Supp also encouraged people to come forward with information.

"Somebody saw something, they just might not know what they saw," Supp said. 

Throughout the day Sunday, people gathered at West Wendover High School to share hugs and tears.

Micaela's classmates are feeling pain over the loss of their friend. They've created makeshift memorials with flowers and candles, knowing there isn't likely to be any good news.

"She will be greatly missed in front of everybody," said Bryan Maddox with West Wendover High. "We just wish the best for her and her family."

Sophomore Yesenia Mendoza said, "It's really hard on us right now. There are no words that can explain what we're feeling. We just want to know what happened, why it happened."

Junior Laura Botello remembered Micaela as a kind person who wouldn't hurt anyone.

"It's so sad. Somebody like her — she was so sweet, like she would never do anything to anybody. Then just out of nowhere she disappears just like that in broad daylight. Nobody saw her?" she said. "It's just sad."

Sophomore Deven Hamilton said it's a big loss and all the students are depressed. 

"Micaela is one of the best students at school. Straight-A student," Hamilton said. "A lot of people are really close to her."

A family spokeswoman says they are very thankful for the outpouring of support from the community. 

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