SPEARVILLE, Kan. (KAKE) - Authorities have have arrested a 31-year-old southwest Kansas man for capital murder after finding the bodies of his girlfriend and 4-year-old daughter.

The Kansas Bureau of Investigation said in a release Thursday that Michael Peterson was arrested in the deaths of 31-year-old Kayla Vasquez and 4-year-old Aalilyah Vasquez.


Michael Peterson (left) and Kayla and Aalilyah Vasquez

The Ford County Sheriff’s Office received a call at around 1:20 p.m. Wednesday from a home in the 200 block of Avenue B. Upon arrival, sheriff’s deputies and officers from the Spearville Police Department spoke to a man who reported that his girlfriend and daughter were missing.

The KBI said that while they were inside the home, officers noticed evidence that a crime had occurred in the residence. Peterson was detained for questioning.

Just before 4 p.m. Wednesday, the sheriff's office requested KBI assistance. KBI agents and the Crime Scene Response Team responded to the scene to investigate.

The KBI said agents and deputies began an extensive search for Kayla and Aalilyah, and they were later assisted by the Edwards County Sheriff’s Office.

Authorities found Kayla's body in rural Ford County at around 4:15 a.m. Thursday. Aalilyah's body was found in Kinsley at around 5:40 a.m.

Anyone with information about this case is asked to call the KBI at 1-800-KS-CRIME, or the Ford County Sheriff’s Office at 620-227-4501.

The KBI said the investigation is ongoing and autopsies will be conducted.

Spearville is northeast of Dodge City and had a population of 970 in 2020, according to that year's census. 

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Authorities in southwest Kansas are searching for a woman and 4-year-old girl who were reported missing Wednesday afternoon.

Ford County Sheriff Bill Carr said officers responded at around 1:20 p.m. to a home in the 200 block of West Avenue B in Spearville. They spoke with a man who said that his girlfriend, 31-year-old Kayla Vasquez (McSherry), and daughter, Aalilyah Vasquez, were missing. 

Layla stands 5-foot-5, weighs about 200 pounds and has dark hair and hazel eyes. Aalilyah is 3-foot-6 and has brown hair and brown eyes.

Sheriff Carr said his office has requested assistance from the Kansas Bureau of Investigation.

A KAKE News viewer shared a photo of a KBI Crime Scene Unit vehicle at the Spearville home and police tape surrounding the property. A KBI spokesperson said an update would be provided soon.

Courtesy photo

Anyone with information is asked to call the Ford County Sheriff's Office at (620) 227-4501, Ford County Communications at (620) 227-4646, the KBI at 1-800-KSCRIME, or 911.