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A former Marine who lives in California has been arrested in the slaying of a 16-year-old girl, after he had allegedly been communicating with her and other young girls on social media.
Codi Slayton, 19, faces a first-degree murder charge in the death of 16-year-old Josephine Jimenez. The charge comes months after Jimenez's body was discovered at a rural agricultural property in Madera County on Oct. 22, 2019, according to a release from the Madera County Sheriff’s Office.
Investigators turned their attention to Slayton after being contacted by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service in December. The NCIS had been investigating Slayton on a separate matter and believed he may be connected to the teen’s death, authorities said.
“Based on information derived from his interview with MCSO Detectives, as well as evidence discovered during additional follow up investigation, Codi John Slayton was taken into custody by Madera County Sheriff’s Detectives,” the sheriff’s office said.
Authorities believe Slayton and Jimenez had been communicating through “various social media applications” before her death — but authorities don’t believe it was his only contact with young girls.
They said he also communicated with other “young girls throughout California” and possibly other regions of the country, and are now asking anyone who may have had contact online with Slayton to contact the sheriff’s office or provide an anonymous tip through the Valley Crime Stoppers.
Investigators have not released any further information about how Jimenez died.
“This seems to be something more along the line of online predator,” Madera County Sheriff Jay Varney said, according to local station KFSN. “So my guess is, somehow he had a method to contact her—as most predators do. Struck up some kind of conversation and then the resulting crime occurred at some point after that.”
Slayton had reportedly once served in the Marines, according to Fox News.
Jimenez’s family released a statement thanking investigators for their work in making an arrest.
"The Jimenez family wants to thank federal authorities, local authorities, and Madera County Sheriff's office detectives for their hard work in the capture of the person responsible for Josephine's death,” they said. “We are still mourning the loss of our daughter Josephine and look forward for Justice for Josephine."
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