16-year-old suspect charged as adult in case of fatal stabbing of Murray woman

Melissa Dawn Wood. Photo: Obituary

MURRAY, Utah, May 6, 2021 (Gephardt Daily) — Sixteen-year-old Izaak Joseph Vijil will be tried as an adult in connection with the fatal stabbing of 34-year-old Melissa Wood, a judge ruled Thursday.

Wood died on April 22 of this year after Murray Police officials say she tried to intervene when Vijil made racial slurs against children playing in the parking lot of an apartment building at 4439 S. Brick Oven Way, the statement says.

“Wood asked him to stop talking like that,” says a probable cause statement filed by an officer of the Murray Police Department. “She told him that he was being disrespectful. Vijil continued to argue with M.W. (Melissa Wood) and at one point told her to get out of his face or he was going to slap her.

“Vijil approached M.W. and began hitting her in the upper torso. Witnesses thought he was punching her, but then realized she had been stabbed after she had collapsed and was bleeding. Vijil fled from the scene.

“When officers arrived M.W. had already been transported to Intermountain Medical Center by Murray Fire. M.W. had suffered multiple stab wounds and was declared deceased shortly after arriving at the hospital.”

Investigators were able to retrieve a Snapchat from Vijil, which reportedly said: “I need a  ride out of state ASAP who got me I ain’t finna get lokked a great (sic) up over sum bullshit.”

Vijil, a Midvale resident, was apprehended and taken into custody. His probable cause statement says that post Miranda, he “admitted that he was at the scene of the crime. Vijil further admitted stabbing M.W. with the knife found in his pocket at the time of his apprehension.”

Vijil is being held in the Salt Lake Valley Detention Center. He has been charged on suspicion of:

  • Murder, a first-degree felony
  • Two counts of aggravated assault, a second-degree felony
  • Violent offense committed in presence of a child, a Class B misdemeanor

An autopsy report revealed that Wood had been stabbed six times, the police statement says. She had two stab wounds to her chest, which punctured her right lung and heart. Four other stab wounds struck her diaphragm, liver, major blood vessels and her chest cavity, the autopsy found. Her manner of death was found to be a homicide.

The photo below is from a GoFundMe page posted with the stated purpose of paying Wood’s funeral costs.

A fundraising account has been set up to help pay funeral costs for Murray resident Melissa Wood, 34, who was fatally stabbed on Thursday, April 22, 2021. Photo: GoFundMe

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