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Death of 15-year-old found in Jordan River 'isolated act,' police say

But investigators won't say why or discuss details

Published: Monday, March 12 2012 6:11 p.m. MDT

Anne Kasprzak, 15, of Riverton, was found dead in the Jordan River in Draper on Sunday, March 11, 2012. She was a student at Summit Academy High School. Police are investigating her death as a homicide.

, Courtesy photo

DRAPER — Investigators continued Monday piecing together the final 20 hours of the life of 15-year-old Anne Kasprzak, who was found dead Sunday in the Jordan River.

Investigators had little new information about Anne's death Monday, but hoped someone would come forward who may have seen the Riverton teen or has any information about what she was doing between 7:45 p.m. Saturday and 4 p.m. Sunday, when her body was discovered.

"We really want to find out how this happened, why this happened," Draper Police Sgt. Chad Carpenter said. "If they saw her with someone, that helps us. If they saw her alone, that helps us."

Carpenter said Anne's case is being handled as a "suspicious death investigation" that is being treated as a homicide. However, he said he did not have results of an autopsy that was conducted Monday and did not know whether the state medical examiner was classifying her death as a homicide, suicide or accidental.

Yet Carpenter noted that investigators believe her death was an "isolated act" and not random, saying joggers and other recreationists shouldn't have to worry about a killer on the loose in that area. Carpenter, however, declined to comment on why police believe the incident was isolated.

When asked to describe whether there were any obvious signs of trauma on Anne's body, Carpenter would only say, "She did have injuries," but refused to elaborate or say what may have caused them.

The last time Anne was seen was at her mother's house in Riverton about 7:45 p.m. Saturday. She was reported as a runaway at 8:43 p.m. that night and Unified police began an investigation, said Unified Police Sgt. Justin Hoyal.

Investigators put her name on the National Crime Information Center.

Carpenter said he did not have any information Monday about why police classified her as a runaway.

The girl's stepmother, Jennifer Kasprzak, said Monday that family members believed Anne had just gone for a walk Saturday night but began to worry when she didn't answer her phone or respond to text messages. Family members then used GPS to track the location of the teen's cellphone.

Kasprzak said Anne first seemed to be moving slowly away from an area near her mother's Riverton home, but then the tracking indicated that her location changed more rapidly, as if she had been traveling in a car. The last tracked location was near the area where police would would later locate one of her shoes.

Saturday night, Kasprzak said family members searched that area but found nothing. They assumed that her phone battery had died in that area. They continued to search for her until about 5 a.m. Sunday, she said.

The girl's body was pulled from the Jordan River near 12600 South Sunday afternoon after police responded to reports of suspicious activity in the area earlier in the day. A bloody sneaker was found on a pedestrian bridge. A shoe found with Anne's body after she was pulled from the water matched the other on the bridge. She was last seen wearing a red flannel shirt and blue jeans.

On Monday, teddy bears were placed along the Jordan River Parkway next to the banks of the river where Anne's body was found.

At Anne's school, Summit Academy High School, 14942 S. 663 West, school executive director Steve Crandall said the students and faculty were in shock.

"Obviously it's a horrible tragedy. We just try to make sense of something you can't really make sense of. We had our crisis team in first thing this morning," he said.

Anne was a ninth-grader at the school and had started attending in the fall. She was enrolled at Oquirrh Hills Middle School at the beginning of the school year, but only attended for a very short time before withdrawing from the school, a Jordan School District spokesman said.

"People are crying and very sad," said fellow student Heather Asay. "She was a really good person."

Dillan Harper-Smith, a 10th-grader, said he sat next to Anne in English.

"She was a good student. She was always willing to help out in the classroom," he said.

Dillan said Anne would talk frequently with him, mainly about skiing and being in the outdoors. But he noted she was quieter than normal last week.

Anyone with information is asked to call Draper police at 801-840-4000. Detectives are hoping the public can help them fill in the gaps of a timeline they are constructing.

Contributing: Andrew Wittenberg

E-mail: preavy@desnews.com Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

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