Metro Police Seek Info In 'Brutal Murder' of 12-Year-Old Girl

Posted at 4:04 PM, Aug 15, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-16 10:09:48-04

Officials with the Metro Nashville Police Department called the death of 12-year-old Yhoana Arteaga as a brutal murder and urged anyone with information to come forward.

A team of eight detectives and spokesman Don Aaron held a press conference Tuesday afternoon in front of Arteaga's mobile home.

The team, led by Lt. William McCall, was handling the investigation.

Yhoana was killed the evening of August 10. Police said the last time she was seen alive was when she and her mother had lunch together that day at 12:30 p.m. Her mom then received a text message from her at 5:30 p.m. saying there was someone knocking on the door of the home.

Police said her mom and two siblings returned home around 6:45 p.m. and found Yhoana dead.

Detectives said their preliminary investigation has led them to believe she knew her killer.

"We can't get into detail about any types of relationships right now. For anyone listening that knows Yhoana or the family, if you have any suspicions about anyone related to this family ... a friend or anyone they might have known please give us a call," said Sgt. David Kautzman.

The preliminary investigation and autopsy results showed the child was "brutally murdered." Aaron said, "Without being overly specific, there was blunt force trauma to her body. Her clothing was in disarray." 

"This is a horrible, brutal thing. I've never seen anything this brutal in my entire career," said Sgt. Kautzman.

He said the crime laboratory scientists have made the case a priority as detectives continued to hold the scene. They haven't allowed anyone inside or around the mobile home in case the crime laboratory develops something of interest that calls for further examination inside the home.

So far, the department received "very limited" information from the public. 

"...Please think about what happened to this 12-year-old young girl. She was brutally murdered, and if anyone has any information whatsoever that could help us in this investigation please contact us," said Aaron.

A cash reward was offered in the case, and officials reminded the public that tipsters can remain anonymous.

Detective Gilbert Remirez spoke in Spanish to the Latino community in regards how the department needed their help.

The Partners in the Struggle organization scheduled a candlelight vigil for Yhoana for later in the week.