Family photo,
Sierra Newbold, 6, was found dead Tuesday in a canal near her home. Investigators say the child was sexually assaulted and murdered. West Jordan police declined to answer many questions Thursday about her death.

WEST JORDAN — Police remained tight-lipped Thursday about their investigation into the killing and sexual assault of a 6-year-old girl.

Officers declined to answer a series of questions, saying they don't want to compromise the investigation.

"This is our highest priority. We're working very hard to identify, arrest and successfully prosecute the person or people responsible," said West Jordan Police Sgt. Drew Sanders.

Sanders declined Thursday to answer questions about the last time Sierra was seen, whether there was evidence of forced entry into the house, whether Sierra shared a room with one of her siblings who were in the house at the time, or the exact wording the mother used to talk about her missing daughter.

Sierra's mother called police at 7:27 a.m. Tuesday to report that her daughter was missing from her bedroom at their home, 2383 W. 7095 South. Sometime later that morning, an officer found Sierra's body in a nearby canal. Investigators have also declined to reveal how she died.

Police could not say Thursday whether they believe Sierra was targeted in the attack or if she became a victim at random. Sanders said as of Thursday, no one had been cleared as a suspect.

"We have not ruled anyone out," he said.

Sierra's mourning family announced funeral arrangements Thursday for their "sweet angel." The funeral will be held Saturday at the LDS West Jordan 27th Ward, 2666 W. 7000 South.

Born Nov. 8, 2005, family members say Sierra "was outgoing and made friends everywhere she went," according to her obituary.

They remembered her as someone who was "eager to grow up" and do adult things such as driving and having her "very own" cellphone. She also enjoyed drawing, dancing, hiking, soccer and "loved life and lived it to the fullest," the obituary stated. 

Sierra would have started first grade at West Jordan Elementary School in the fall.

She is survived by her parents Brad and Kathy Newbold, two brothers and three sisters including Taylor, her best friend.

"They did everything together. She had the amazing ability to make everyone happy with her big brown eyes and her beautiful smile," her family said in the obituary.

"The family would like to thank the outpouring of love, prayers and support from our family, neighborhood family and community. Sierra will leave a huge hole in the hearts of everyone who knew her. She will be deeply missed and is loved dearly by her family and friends."

West Jordan Police Chief Doug Diamond said Wednesday that there was "obviously a predator out there that is a monster." Sanders clarified Thursday the chief did not necessarily mean there was someone running loose in the neighborhood grabbing and assaulting children. He only meant that the person responsible for the crime is a "monster."

Sierra's family was temporarily not allowed inside their house as detectives processed it for evidence. Sanders said he could not discuss Thursday whether any additional evidence had been collected. He added that investigators were still reviewing a video recording from a home surveillance system. The FBI is assisting in that effort.

Anyone with information on the crime is asked to call police at 801-256-2211.

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