Teen guilty in 2017 murder of Kiaya Campbell

Aidan Zellmer pleaded guilt, March sentencing set

Staff Report
Posted 2/5/19

The now 17-year-old accused of killing a 10-year-old Thornton girl in 2017 pleaded guilty on Feb. 1. Aidan Zellmer, 17, pleaded guilty to one count of first-degree murder after deliberation in the …

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Teen guilty in 2017 murder of Kiaya Campbell

Aidan Zellmer pleaded guilt, March sentencing set

Posted

The now 17-year-old accused of killing a 10-year-old Thornton girl in 2017 pleaded guilty on Feb. 1.

Aidan Zellmer, 17, pleaded guilty to one count of first-degree murder after deliberation in the death of Kiaya Campbell, the ten-year-old daughter of Zellmer’s mother’s then-boyfriend.

All other charges in the murder have been dismissed, and Zellmer is now scheduled for a sentencing hearing at 9 a.m. March 11, according to a press release from District Attorney District Attorney Dave Young’s office on Feb. 1.

Campbell disappeared June 7, 2017 while walking to a Thornton shopping area near 136th Avenue and Colorado Boulevard with Zellmer, who was then 15-years-old.

Police said they were told Campbell and Zellmer had left his mother’s house near 124th and Forest Drive before 9 p.m. June 7 but were separated during a rainstorm at about the 12900 block of Colorado Boulevard.

Police began searching for the girl the next morning, stopping traffic in and out of the father’s neighborhood, searching cars and concentrating on canals, ditches and lakes in the area.

Police issued an Amber Alert, followed by a call for volunteers to participate in a walking search of the area, centered around Skyview Elementary School. Volunteers began gathering but police later called off the search, saying a body had been found June 8 near 128th and Jasmine Court — roughly two miles east of where Campbell was last seen and about a mile from her father’s Thornton home, according to police. The Adams County Coroner confirmed it was Campbell.

The coroner declared the death “other than accidental” and police arrested the suspect just before midnight June 10, 2017 and took him to the Adams County Juvenile Detention Facility.

Roughly 500 volunteers showed June 8 to help find Campbell before police find the child’s body and called off the search. Another 350 people came to that spot, lighting candles and praying for Campbell and her family two nights later.

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