Northeast Tarrant

Bedford teen’s cause of death could take months to determine, medical examiner says

Police Chief Jeff Gibson said Friday there is no evidence to suggest that Kaytlynn Cargill had been abducted or was in danger after she went missing on Monday.

Speaking at a news conference, Gibson also said that “our information ... does not indicate a further risk to our community.”

He said that no suspect or person of interest has been identified and that it’s not known if she was killed by another person.

Her cause and manner of death remained unknown Friday, pending the return of a toxicology report, which could take up to 90 days to complete, a spokesperson for the Tarrant County medical examiner’s office said.

The medical examiner would probably wait for the report’s results before making a ruling.

The death of Kaytlynn, a 14-year-old student at Central Junior High in Euless who friends described as smart and funny, has left the community — and police — searching for answers.

Gibson said his staff is “working diligently and tirelessly” to find “a resolution to this senseless loss.”

Gibson said officers immediately began searching for Kaytlynn after she was reported missing at 8:15 p.m. Monday from Oak Creek West Apartments, near Pennington Field in Bedford, where she lived with her parents.

Kaytlynn had taken her dog on a walk about 6:20 p.m. and was last seen at the apartment, where she tied up her dog in the dog park. A friend said Kaytlynn asked others to watch the dog for a minute but she never returned.

Gibson said her parents said she might be with a friend, and police pursued that lead, but did not find Kaytlynn.

Fliers were put up around the neighborhood as police went door-to-door. Missing person alerts were issued, through law enforcement networks and social media.

Gibson said more than once during the news conference that there was no indication that she had been abducted or was in danger.

Police did not issue an Amber Alert and Gibson defended the decision not to issue the alert, saying they followed well-established protocol. The Texas Department of Public Safety coordinates the Amber Alert network, and certain criteria must be met before an alert is issued, including a reasonable belief by police that an abduction has occurred and that the child is in imminent danger.

Kaytlynn’s body was found at 1:51 p.m. Wednesday in the Arlington landfill, at North Collins Street and Moiser Valley Road in north Arlington. The landfill, operated by Republic Services, is easily visible in north Arlington.

The city of Arlington and its residents are the primary users of the landfill, but Arlington contracts to receive waste from Bedford, Euless, Hurst, Grapevine, Mansfield, North Richland Hills, Richland Hills and Southlake.

Gibson said investigators are looking at the trash in the area where Kaytlynn was found to determine its origin. Her body was found in the commercial dumping area of the landfill, not where the public can leave trash.

He called it a “grid search” and said it was a complicated process.

The Tarrant County medical examiner identified Kaytlynn’s body on Thursday.

After news of Kaytlynn’s death spread, friends gathered Thursday night at Central Junior High in Bedford, where Kaytlynn attended school.

One of Kaytlynn’s teachers spoke glowingly of her intelligence, and Kaytlynn’s friend Bayleigh Wagoner agreed.

“You could tell in class she was super smart,” Bayleigh said. “She’d always be the first one to answer a question.”

She was funny, too, said Bayleigh, who was in the school band with Kaytlynn.

“She was this carefree girl,” Bayleigh said. “She could make you laugh whenever. If she saw that you were sad or if you didn’t have a smile on your face, she would start telling jokes just to make you smile. ... I just can’t believe this happened to her.”

Lee Williams: 817-390-7840, @leewatson

Related stories from Fort Worth Star Telegram