CACHE COUNTY, Utah (ABC4 Utah) - Officials identified a 14-year-old girl found injured in a dry canal last week and also confirmed, Tuesday, that she was shot in the head.
Concerned community members packed into the Cache County Courthouse for the same reasons reporters did. For four days, the public has wondered about the strange circumstances leading up to the teen's disappearance and apparent attempted-murder.
"We haven't seen things like this before..." said Smithfield Police Chief Travis Allen. "There have been well over 500 man hours dedicated to this investigation."
It was in east Smithfield that police say a friend searching for Deserae Turner found her bleeding and barely conscious, early Friday morning. Officials say the teen's family had reported her missing the evening before, after she never came home from school.
Investigators say they soon realized someone had tried to kill Deserae.
"Deserae had suffered a gunshot wound to the head," Allen confirmed.
Police tracked down everyone Deserae may have had contact with and identified two 16 year-old boys as 'significant people of interest' after finding them with Deserae's personal belongings and the handgun they say they believe her attackers used.
Police would not comment on the boys' relationship to Deserae or a possible motive, but officials say both are now booked into jail and face attempted aggravated murder charges.
"I haven't seen anything like this case in the 18 years I've worked for Cache County," Cache County Attorney James Swink told reporters.
Swink says the teen suspects should face charges as adults because of the seriousness of the allegations against them. He says he will seek to make sure that happens, though the process could take as long as 30 days.
Tuesday, officials say Deserae remains in a medically-induced coma.
In a prepared statement, the Turner family stated in part:
"We know that our Father in Heaven is watching over her, and all of us have been touched by her. We know that He hears and answers prayers, and we can see His hand at work as Deserae continues to make progress. We ask that you continue to respect our privacy at this time."
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