Missing West Valley girl found safe after 17 hours
12-year-old got lost and spent night outside, police say
Derek Petersen, Deseret News
WEST VALLEY CITY — A 12-year-old girl with diminished mental capacity was found safe Tuesday morning after being missing for about 17 hours.
Ashley Esquivel was spotted walking along a sidewalk near 4590 S. 6200 West, about 35 blocks from the school where she was last seen Monday afternoon.
Ashley was treated at a local hospital for hypothermia and was released Tuesday afternoon, said West Valley Deputy Police Chief Mike Powell.
After talking to the young girl, investigators do not suspect any foul play was involved, he said.
Detectives said Ashley apparently got into an argument with one of her teachers at the American Preparatory School, 3636 W. 3100 South near Bangerter Highway, over one of her assignments. She became upset and went outside the school to take a walk and "cool down," Powell said.
She walked along 3100 South toward the mountains because they "looked peaceful" to her, he said. But Ashley, who has a "diminished capacity" and does not live in West Valley City, became disoriented and lost after the sun went down, he said. Police believe the young girl spent the entire night outside.
She found a place to rest, reportedly still outside. And when the sun came up Tuesday morning, she began walking again, Powell said.
The break in the case came about 8:40 a.m. Tuesday when Isaiah Nau and his wife were driving their child to school and noticed a girl walking alone at 4590 S. 6200 West. The couple had seen fliers about the missing girl at the school and realized that the child matched Ashley's description. They turned around and asked the girl for her name. She told them "Ashley."
The girl was in a school uniform, including a light sweater. The couple said she appeared to be sad and tired.
West Valley police and paramedics were called to the scene. Ashley was checked out and then transported to a local hospital.
Powell said Ashley was very lucky that it wasn't any colder Monday night and that it didn't snow as she was not dressed for winter weather.
Ashley is in a special education program at the school. Her parents were worried Monday about her "ability to function in these types of circumstances," Powell said.
- Mystery man who rescued driver from cliff in...
- Cheerleading coach who worked as youth...
- Osmond to run 250 miles to help kids get...
- BYU ranked 'best value college' in Utah
- Fire rips through Draper garage during...
- Clearfield man intentionally punched woman...
- Second student sues district over teacher's...
- Slain Brigham City mom remembered as loving,...
- LDS Church, other religions urge... 102
- Married lesbian couple sues Utah to be... 66
- End of an era: Mercury rule shutters... 57
- Poll: Strong approval ratings for Gov.... 27
- Sen. Hatch's 'I-Squared' bill could... 26
- BYU ranked 'best value college' in Utah 23
- Herbert to meet with Obama... 21
- April snow shocks Utahns but does... 20