The body, found Wednesday just one mile from where Kayleah went missing nearly two months ago, was identified through dental records, said Greeley, Colorado, Police Chief Jerry Garner at a press conference today.
"The Weld County Coroner's Office has identified the boy as that of Kayleah Wilson," said Garner. "The information that has been provided says that the death does not appear to be accidental and as a result, a homicide investigation has begun."
The search for Kayleah, who went missing March 28 after leaving her Greeley home to attend a birthday party, has been confounded by an absence of any information or leads, police have said.
Today Garner said that there is still little to say about the cause of Kayleah's death or who might be responsible.
"We can't guarantee you that there is not someone, if given the opportunity to do this crime again, who wouldn't do it," he said. "We still have a wide range of people of interest that we'll be following up on."
"We are looking for a successful prosecution of whoever did this to this girl," said Garner.
Kayleah's body was found at 6 a.m. Wednesday by a worker who was inspecting the water levels in an irrigation ditch. Garner said this was an area that had been searched twice by rescue workers when Kayleah first disappeared, and even by search dogs, which never picked up a scent.
"The death didn't occur, let's say, within the past day or two, it occured some time ago," said Garner.
Kayleah's family was not at the press conference and, according to Garner, does not want to speak to the media. Garner said that there is nothing to lead investigators to believe that any member of the family "is a suspect in the case."
Kayleah's mother, April Wilson, said that disappearing without calling or coming home was not typical of her daughter.
"She's never run away before," Wilson said after police began to look for Kayleah. "I am worried she may be in danger because none of her friends have seen her, and it is like she just vanished, but that's not possible."
Kayleah, a sixth grader at Brentwood Middle School, was last seen wearing a white-and-pink shirt over a white tank top, blue jeans and white and red shoes. She was described as being 5 feet 1 inch, and approximately 145 pounds with brown eyes and brown hair.
Wilson said her daughter left at 3:40 p.m. for the party, which was just a few blocks away.
"She walked over to the couch and said, 'I love you,' and 'I'll be home by 7,' and she walked out the door and that was it," Wilson said. "She had been talking about the party. She was really looking forward to it."
The eight-block area Kayleah would have crossed to get to the party is well-populated and safe, according to authorities.
Wilson also said that she had no concern about letting her daughter walk alone and that the neighborhood is not dangerous.
"We all walk everywhere, we don't even have a car," she said. "It's not a bad neighborhood."
Wilson described her daughter as "loving" and "trusting," and said that she's always been well-behaved.
Other than that, Wilson said her daughter was a typical preteen who had a crush on one of the singers from the folk band Celtic Thunder.
On the morning of the day she disappeared, Wilson said her daughter had gone to church with her and had been happy during a lunch at a local restaurant with her grandmother.