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Police: 4-year-old killed and mother in custody

WEST VALLEY – Police still have a lot of questions about why a West Valley woman reportedly killed her daughter, then confessed to the killing.  She was booked into jail for aggravated murder.

(Credit: Salt Lake County Jail)


West Valley City Public Information Officer Roxeanne Vainuku says the woman knocked on a neighbors door this morning around 5 am claiming that she had killed her young daughter.

Vainuku says after the neighbor called police, officers found the suspect sitting on the porch of the neighbor’s home when officers arrived and they took her into custody. The officers then entered the suspects home and confirmed there was a young girl who was deceased.

“When we receive a call like this, our officers do enter the home to ensure the safety of anyone who might still be in the home,” Vainuku said. “Our officers entered the home, cleared the home, and secured the home, then they exit the home.”

Vainuku says during that process they also found a 6-year-old boy asleep in his bed unharmed.

“That only adds to the strangeness of the entire case,” she says.

Probable cause statements say Nicole Lester was wearing bloody clothes when she sat on her porch, calmly waiting for police to arrest her.  It also says the victim, 4-year-old Laney Vos, had “sharp edged type wounds” on her body.


This murder comes as a complete shock to people living on Losee Drive.  Neighbors say they know very little about Lester.  She reportedly kept to herself and didn’t interact with the neighborhood very often.  One woman, who wants to stay anonymous, says Lester would even refuse a ride home in snowy weather.

She says, “My daughter and I, both, would ask her, because it’s snowing and it’s really cold, could we give her a ride home.  She always said no.”

Lester and her kids appeared to be happy, according to her, and she adds that she never saw any warning signs of a potential problem.

“It’s devastating.  I wish I had seen some [sort of] sign,” she says.

Lester had faced charges of assault and domestic violence in front of a child in 2014.  However, Vainuku says Lester hasn’t had any significant criminal history since then.

Why did the alleged attack happen?  Vainuku says they don’t know.  They’ll be interviewing Lester’s mother and other relatives to see if there were any problems between Lester and her daughter.  Plus, they took samples of her blood to see if there were any drugs in her system.

Vainuku says, “Putting together a puzzle like this, trying to figure out why a mother would do something like this to her own child is the challenge that’s before us.”

(Contributing: Paul Nelson)

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