A Utah teen has been charged with aggravated murder for allegedly stabbing his friend 26 times.
Ivan Nickolas Vetecnik (15) was found dead on May 26. His body had been dismembered and placed in several garbage bags that were then thrown into a field.
Rowdy Lee Aguilar, 17, is now facing charges of aggravated murder, obstruction of justice and desecration of a human body for the murder.
Rowdy Lee Aguilar, 17, has been accused of stabbing his friend Ivan Nickolas Vetecnik, 15, pictured 26 times and leaving a bag full of his body parts in a field
Crime scene investigation tape is on display around Taylorsville, Utah home
Vetecnik’s death came as a shock to anyone who knew the couple who were said to be best friends, having grown up together.
Police were called after Vetecnik’s body was found in a field.
Aguilar’s house was searched shortly afterwards. Investigators noted that there was a strong smell of disinfectant in the cargo trailer he owns.
As the search continued, more circumstantial evidence was gathered, including a bloodied T-shirt and a knife that looked like it had been used in the murder and eventually a dismembered body along with cleaning supplies inside.
The family of Vetecnik, who lost his own parents two years ago, would be shocked
Vetecnik’s body was found to have 26 stab wounds, including to the head, with one wound puncturing his skull. The fatal blow was to his neck with the violent death of Vetecnik was ruled as manslaughter.
Initially, when questioned, Aguilar denied all knowledge, including that he had anything of the victim, but he soon admitted responsibility after being confronted with the evidence, which included wounds on his own hands and blood on his clothing.
During an interview with detectives, Aguilar is said to have told investigators that he had been with his girlfriend all day. The wounds to his hands, he claimed, were from preparing ribs for a barbecue.
The body of Ivan Nickolas Vetecnik, 15, was found in black and white garbage bags in a field behind the house of Rowdy Aguila, 17
Court documents seen by KSL reveal no motive for the murder, but tell how surveillance footage saw the boys enter Aguilar’s house that morning.
Towards noon, Aguilar came out wearing a bloodied T-shirt and it was recorded that he went twice to a field behind his house, first with a black bin and then a white one.
Police also found video footage showing the couple together on the day of the murder.
Surveillance footage also shows Aguilar allegedly carrying items from his home in trash bags similar to those later found in the field.
After confronting the police, Aguila told investigators, “I did it.”
Police noted that the 17-year-old “has a low-criminal past, but seemingly out of nowhere, Aguilar brutally murdered and dismembered his 15-year-old friend,” documents said.
Vetecnik’s aunt told KUTV that the family was in shock when they learned who the suspect was.
Vetecnik had lost his parents just two years before his own death, leaving his aunt as his legal guardian. He had lost his mother to cancer in 2019 and his father to a fatal heart attack in December 2020.
Ivan ‘Nick’ Nickolas Vetecnik as a young child. (Photo shared by Ingham family)
“Every time they were together, they laughed, had fun, banged their knuckles when they walked away from each other,” Vetecnik’s aunt, Kerri Ingham, told KUTV, who described her cousin as a “gentle giant.”
“The fact that this has happened leaves us only with a huge question of why?”
“He was the most loving boy. He was a beautiful child. Biggest heart of anyone I know. He was a great boy.
“This whole thing is out of left field. We never expected this to happen. The character of the other person is the same way. I never, in a million years, thought this would happen,” Ingham said. “We knew he was a troubled teenager, but you could tell he was still a good boy from his personality.”
A GoFundMe An account has been started for the victim’s family, which has raised nearly $14,000.