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Father of Aloha teen found slain: 'Let your kids know they're loved'

Rick Vaughan displays a photo of himself and his daughter during an interview on Nov. 10, 2017 (KATU News photo)

The father of a 15-year-old girl whose body was found in Forest Park spoke out in an emotional interview just two days after her body was found.

Annieka Vaughan ran away from her home in Aloha on Oct. 30. Police said she was suspected to have been with 23-year-old Zachary Petersen, who is accused of sexually abusing her in Benton County, Wash on Sept. 28.

Their bodies were found Wednesday morning in Forest Park, and a medical examiner confirmed Petersen first shot and killed Vaughan, and then killed himself.

READ MORE: Bodies found in Forest Park ID'd as missing Aloha teen and 23-year-old sex abuse suspect

Vaughan's father spoke with reporters in an emotional 20-minute interview Friday afternoon.

He thanked all of the agencies and search groups that helped look for his daughter, and said this was the worst possible result, but said he was glad to have closure.

Rick Vaughan then talked about his favorite memories of his daughter, and ways in which he was going to miss her the most.

"I'm going to miss her saying, I love you dad... I'm going to miss seeing her go to high school and get married," he said. "Love your kids. Hug your kids. Let them know they're loved. Keep them close."

He also recalled his last conversation with his daughter, one that was positive and uplifting and forward-thinking.

"We were getting her ready for homecoming... we shopped for make-up. She didn't need much. She was absolutely beautiful. It was all about the future and what was coming. That was our last conversation," he said.

When asked what advice he would give to parents who are worried about the well-being of their kids, he said parents should keep an open mind.

"A child may not want to open up to you in fears of being in trouble, so give your kids an opportunity to feel safe at home and open to confide in you," he said.

Watch the full interview below:


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