The next day, a jogger spotted a shoe and some blood on a bridge over the Jordan River near Salt Lake City. Anne’s body was found close by, floating in the water.
She’d been so badly beaten around the head and face that she was unrecognisable, even to her loved ones. Investigators had to use scars, clothing and dental records to identify her.
One of her fingernails was pushed back and she had defence wounds on her body. Anne had fought bravely for her life on the riverbank – and lost.
Anne’s young boyfriend should have been devastated by her death, but he was too busy covering his tracks.
That fateful night, she’d gone to him and told him she was pregnant. She wanted them to run away together.
But an autopsy later revealed that Anne wasn’t pregnant at all. Whether she mistakenly thought she was, or was pretending to be to get Darwin to run away with her, no one will ever know. But Darwin believed she was expecting his child – and Anne had died because of it.
He’d reached for a shovel and beaten Anne violently around the head. She suffered multiple blunt force injuries that fractured her skull and shattered her forehead. Then he’d thrown her body into the water – before cycling home on his BMX bike.
A few days after Anne’s death, police discovered Anne’s blood on one of Darwin’s shoes. He said she’d had a nose bleed while at a mutual friend’s house who backed up his story at first, but then said he’d lied. A witness said they’d also seen a BMX near the crime scene and police knew Darwin owned one.
But it wasn’t enough to prove that he was a killer and, for a while, police were distracted by a tip-off that pointed to two ex-convicts. They were arrested and accused of luring Anne to a party and killing her, but after questioning, it became clear they were innocent.
Once the pair were cleared from the investigation, police turned their attention back to Darwin, who had moved to Colorado with his family. Police seized his mobile phone and retrieved his deleted messages.
They discovered he’d sent a text to his friend begging him to back up the story about the nosebleed. “I need you to tell them, so I don’t get blamed,” he’d begged. Then he’d urged his friend to delete the texts.
Darwin was finally arrested in October 2014, two years after he’d killed his young girlfriend. Now 17, Darwin was charged with first-degree felony murder. It was decided that he’d be tried as an adult, despite committing the crime at 14. Anne’s family said he’d had plenty of time to admit his guilt, but had remained quiet.
At first, Darwin pleaded not guilty, but in February this year, on the eve of his trial, he changed his plea to guilty and said he wanted to take responsibility for Anne’s death.
Darwin was shackled and wearing a blue jumpsuit as his lawyer told the court he’d simply ‘snapped’, because he was too young to process the information that he was going to be a father.
It was a claim that the prosecution disagreed with. They said that the killing had been deliberate, and Darwin had gone to a great deal of trouble to cover up his crime.
“He took her life in the most calculated, cold-blooded and brutal way that he could,” they said.
At the sentencing in April, Darwin, now 18, quietly apologised for his actions.
“I am very sorry for everything that’s happened,” he said. “And I want to apologise to Anne’s family and to my family and to everyone in court today for putting everyone through this.”
The judge a said that Darwin’s actions were “unspeakably vicious and cruel” and sentenced him to 15 years in prison.
Culled from UK Mirror
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