Investigators in Kentucky allege that a 16-year-old high school student was shot once in the head and killed near a park on Wednesday by a 16-year-old boy she “[a]t one point in time” dated.
The Daviess County Sheriff’s Office said Thursday that Gaymee Paw, an Owensboro High School student, was the victim of a murder near Ben Hawes Park, around a 10-minute drive away from where she attended school. Authorities reportedly said they were dispatched around 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday to the scene of the shooting and that Paw died later on at the hospital. The next day, authorities said, they confirmed the cause of Gaymee’s death.
“This morning an autopsy was performed on the victim from yesterday’s death investigation by the Kentucky State Medical Examiner in Madisonville, Kentucky. The cause of death has been determined to be homicide due to a single gunshot wound to the victim’s head,” the sheriff’s office said.
According to authorities, the suspect is a 16-year-old male whose name will not be released “until authorized to do so by the appropriate court authorities.” In other words, if or when the minor suspect’s case is transferred to adult court, as has been the case in murder cases against juveniles younger than this defendant is, his identity will officially be revealed. What the law says:
Upon motion of the county attorney, the district court must conduct a preliminary hearing to determine whether a child should be transferred to circuit court for trial as a “youthful offender.” (A youthful offender is proceeded against in most respects as an adult. Before invoking the youthful offender provisions, the county attorney is required by law to consult with the Commonwealth’s attorney.) Following the preliminary hearing, if the court determines that (1) there is probable cause to believe the child committed the offense alleged and otherwise meets statutory age/offense/prior record criteria and (2) at least two of a list of seven determinative factors specified by statute (one of which is “the best interest of the child and community”) weigh in favor of transfer, it may issue an order transferring the child to circuit court. Whether the case of a child charged with a felony is handled in district court or circuit court, all offenses arising from the same course of conduct must be tried with the felony.
Sheriff Brad Youngman revealed that the victim and suspect “did go to school together” and “at one point in time they were boyfriend-girlfriend,” The Messenger-Inquirer reported. In the same report, County Attorney John Burlew was quoted saying, “I absolutely am in favor of trying this individual as an adult.”
“If the judge determines to transfer it to circuit court, then (commonwealth attorney) Bruce Kuegel’s office will be prosecuting it; I know that they want it,” he reportedly said.
At least for now, the suspect’s identity remains shielded as he’s held at the Warren County Regional Juvenile Detention Center on charges of murder, tampering with physical, possessing a handgun as a minor, investigators said.
News 14 posted a video of Gaymee Paw being interviewed for a 2017 segment about the “fun” she was having “practicing soccer” at a Fellowship of Christian Athletes camp for kids.
Authorities are asking anyone who was in the area of Willet Road on Wednesday afternoon to call the sheriff’s office at 270-685-8444 or Crime Stoppers at 270-685-8484 if they know something that can help investigators.
“Detectives have closely coordinated with the Daviess County Attorney’s Office, the Commonwealth Attorney’s Office, the Court Designated Worker’s Office, and the Daviess County Coroner’s Office throughout this investigation to do our best to ensure a successful prosecution that ultimately results in justice for the victim and her loved ones,” the sheriff’s office press release said.
Those who knew Gaymee mourned her death online and remembered her as “sweet” person.
“Once a lady fox always a lady fox,” Burns Middle School Volleyball posted on Facebook. “Prayers go out to the family of Gaymee Paw. Such a sweet girl. You will definitely be missed.”
“RIP Gaymee Paw. She was such a sweet girl,” wrote Debbie Evans, a school bus driver. “Was one of my students when I drove the school bus and Alice Puckett (RIP) was my monitor. Alice really took a liking to Gaymee was one of our favorite girls.”
“This little young lady has been to my house plenty of time friends with my daughter she was very sweet and nice it’s just so hard to think someone could do something like this,” parent Jerry Farmer Sr. added.
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