by: Kevin McCarty Updated:
TACOMA, Wash. - Investigators say the man accused of raping and strangling a developmentally-delayed teenager in 2010 began referring to her as "it" during interviews with detectives.
Tyler Savage, 21, was 18 when he was questioned by Pierce County sheriff's detectives following the disappearance of Kimberly Daily, 16.
Detective Sgt. Teresa Berg testified in Savage's murder trial that Savage was nervous and fidgeted while being questioned, often sighing, playing with his hair and burping.
"How was he characterizing her?" asked Deputy Prosecutor Phil Sorenson.
"He kept referring to her as 'it,'" answered Berg.
Investigators focused on Savage shortly after Daily disappeared in August 2010 because he was the last person seen with her. He underwent repeated questioning and even agreed to take detectives to an area near her home because he thought it might be a good place for someone to dump a body. In a recorded interview, Savage said he also helped several friends and neighbors search the area after Daily vanished.
Berg testified that Savage finally confessed to another detective, leading investigators to her body. Prosecutors said Savage confessed to strangling the teenager, but his defense attorney now claims Daily asked Savage to play a sexual choking game with her and died accidentally.