A preteen tragically died after her family’s SUV was stolen and she was entangled in a seat belt and dragged for miles in an attempt to escape.
Police say the 13-year-old was identified by her family as Brianna Ibarra. She was in the back seat of a Ford Escape that was parked but left running outside of a restaurant as other family members went in to quickly grab food.
Kevin Palmer, 34, then allegedly jumped into the driver’s seat of the vehicle and drove away with the girl inside.
The girl attempted to exit the car as it was moving, but was caught in the seatbelt and dragged outside of the vehicle. “Palmer continued to flee for several miles,” police alleged in a news release.
A witness called 911 and followed the SUV. Police report that the driver stopped and then fled on foot, but was quickly arrested by officers who arrived on the scene.
“This is one of the saddest cases I have been associated with in my over 28 years of law enforcement,” said police Chief Gordon Ramsay.
Brianna was “full of life,” and someone who “always made everybody laugh, loved her family [and] was always up for any adventure,” said her parents, according to KAKE TV.
It was described as “a tragedy that no family should have to go through.” The girl “loved to create,” said her older sister Marissa Ibarra, and was “easy and fun to be around. She was bright, carefree, straightforward, family-oriented, strong, would do anything for [her] family, affectionate,” she shared with the outlet.
A family friend created a GoFundMe page to help with the family’s expenses.
Palmer, who police say has several prior convictions for felony crimes, is currently being held at the Sedgwick County jail on multiple charges including first-degree murder, theft and driving with a suspended or revoked license.
His bond on the murder charge is $500,000.
With a background in the creative and educational fields, Amelia Finefrock is freelance writer, singer-songwriter and nanny based in Chicago.
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