Prosecutors charged a Nebraska man Friday with killing his 8-year-old stepdaughter a day after her body was found in a remote area several miles north of their home.
Salvador Carlos Lopez, 32, was charged with first-degree murder in the death of Kerra Wilson, according to court documents. Investigators found Kerra's body Thursday evening in a rugged area of Sioux County — miles away from the family's home — after a rancher reported seeing something suspicious.
A Nebraska State Patrol investigator said in court documents that Lopez acknowledged killing his stepdaughter after Kerra's body was found.
Police spent two days searching for the girl after Lopez and her mother, Amada Lopez, reported her missing. Lopez had claimed he dropped her off at school Wednesday, but investigators don't believe that.
Authorities said Friday that the last time the brown-haired, blue-eyed girl from Mitchell was seen by anyone other than her stepfather was Tuesday evening, when Kerra was with her grandparents.
Mitchell Elementary School principal Kirk Kuxhausen said Kerra did not appear in any of the security camera footage shot in the school or on the playground on Wednesday.
Investigators weren't initially able to find the body because the surrounding terrain was so rugged. Investigators were still trying to determine when and where the girl was killed, Nebraska State Patrol Lt. Monica Bartling said.
"We were hoping to bring Kerra safely home to her family; sadly, we weren't able to do that," Bartling said.
Kerra Wilson has three younger siblings who are all staying with family members. A phone listing for Kerra's mother was disconnected Friday.
Lopez' co-workers at the Pathfinder Irrigation District declined to comment Friday.
A judge ordered Lopez to be held without bond at least until his initial court appearance Monday morning. He has been held in the Scotts Bluff county jail since Thursday. Bartling said Lopez does not have an extensive criminal record.