Medical examiner: Death of 12-year-old girl was ‘brutal murder’

Medical examiner: Death of 12-year-old girl was ‘brutal murder’


Liz Lohuis

NASHVILLE, TN — The death of a 12-year-old girl is something that even a seasoned medical examiner calls unforgettable.

New documents are shedding light on what happened in the final moments of Yhoana Arteaga’s life.

The chief medical examiner says there are some cases that just stick with you, and this was one of them.

Dr. Feng Li said it took several hours to examine the girl’s body because her injuries were so severe.

The 12-year-old girl was beaten, strangled and left partially undressed. She suffered hemorrhaging and had several bruises and scrapes.

"There is no doubt about that. It was a homicide, a senseless homicide, a brutal murder, yes," Li said.

Li has conducted thousands of autopsies, and this was one of the toughest.

"A lot of cases stay in your mind, especially the kids – the infant, the child, the adolescents. These are the tragedies we will remember for a long time," Li said.

Police say Yhoana sent a text to her mother around 5:30 p.m. on Aug. 10 saying someone was knocking at the door.

A little over an hour later, her family found her dead inside her Goodlettsville home. She was found inside her room.

"Injuries on the neck like abrasions, ligature marks, were present," Li said.

Li said because she was found partially undressed he also did a rape kit.

"We want to see if there is any sexual component," he said.

It’s still unclear if there was an assault.

Investigators have not said if they found any weapons.

Police are 33 days into the investigation but still have not named any suspects or made any arrests.

Friends say they are heartbroken and are desperate for answers.


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