Utah 14-year-old girl shot in head for '$55 and an iPod'

Image source, ABC
Image caption,
Deserae Turner, 14, was ambushed and robbed, police say

A teenage girl found shot in the back of the head in the US state of Utah was targeted for her valuables and $55 (£44) in cash, authorities say.

Deserae Turner, 14, was discovered clinging to life in a dry canal last Friday by friends of her family after a six-hour search of Smithfield.

Two 16-year-old boys were arrested over the weekend and have been charged with attempted murder.

One of the teens allegedly told police the crime was motivated by "greed".

Police say the two teens - who have not been identified - lured Deserae to a dry canal bed near the Sky View High School in Smithfield under the guise of selling her a knife.

But instead, the boys had planned to kill her and take her money, iPod and mobile phone, according to the charges.

The ninth grader is in a medically induced coma at a Salt Lake City area hospital, and is "in the fight of her life", a family spokesman said.

Image source, ABC
Image caption,
She was found in a dry canal bed near the local high school

In a prepared statement the family wrote: "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."

Deserae was found early Friday morning by friends who had tracked her location using her mobile phone information, which authorities provided.

The case has unnerved the small community.

"This has kind of shaken up our citizens," Chief of Police Travis Allen told reporters after the charges were revealed.

"We haven't seen things like this before."

He said many of the girl's possessions were found with the two boys.

Image source, ABC
Image caption,
Deserae had been in mobile phone contact with one of the boys earlier in the day, police say.

Police were advised that the original plan was to murder [the girl] using knives," Cache County Attorney James Swink wrote in charging documents.

But one of the teens also carried a .22-calibre revolver as a "secondary weapon," if the original plan failed, Mr Swink charged.

After the boys were arrested, the alleged gunman told them where to find the gun, and the shell casing - which the other boy had taken to keep "as a memento".

He also penned a letter to the girl's family in which he wrote that he is "so, so, so sorry", authorities say.

The police later found the shell "displayed" on the boy's window sill.

Investigators also say they found shoe prints in the soil that match the Nike and Vans sneakers worn by the two boys.

"I haven't seen anything like this case in the 18 years I've worked in Cache County," the prosecutor said at Tuesday's news conference.