A 13-year-old girl has died in horrific circumstances in “one of the saddest cases” police have ever witnessed.
The teen, identified by her family as Brianna Ibarra, was killed after being dragged for kilometres along a road during a carjacking in the US state of Kansas.
She had attempted to escape the vehicle, but had become caught in her seatbelt.
"This is one of the saddest cases I have been associated with in my over 28 years of law enforcement," police Chief Gordon Ramsay said in a statement.
Teen stayed in car while family picked up food
Brianna was sitting alone in the back of her family’s SUV outside a restaurant in Wichita, in the US state of Kansas, around lunchtime on Saturday (local time).
Her family members had left the car running while they ran inside to pick up food when 34-year-old Kevin Palmer allegedly jumped into the driver’s seat and took off.
The teen tried to get out of the vehicle while it was moving but became caught in the seat belt and dragged, police said.
Another driver saw the SUV, called police and followed the vehicle.
Palmer eventually stopped the SUV and tried to run before being captured by arriving officers.
Tragically, Brianna was pronounced dead at the scene.
Victim remembered as a “beautiful soul”
Brianna’s shattered parents told local news outlet KAKE the loss of their daughter “was a tragedy that no family should have to go through”.
Her sister describer her as “bright, carefree, family oriented, strong”.
A GoFundMe page set up to support Brianna’s family has raised more than A$57,000 in three days.
“I have a 13 year old and I can't imagine the pain you are feeling,” one person wrote on the fundraising page. “It brought tears to my eyes.”
“So so sorry for your loss. My prayers to the family. Just an unthinkable tragedy,” another said.
"(We) appreciate all the support from the community," Brianna's parents told KAKE. "And the beautiful comments that people have shared in the posts."
Palmer has been charged with first-degree murder, theft and driving with a suspended or revoked licence.
He is scheduled to appear in court on February 18. His bond is set at $500,000.
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