An 18-year-old friend of the Nevada cowgirl whose body was found in a remote part of the desert on March 11 has been arrested and charged with murder.
On Friday, the Elko County Sheriff’s Office announced in a release that Bryce Dickey, of Spring Creek, was arrested on Thursday and charged with one count of open murder in connection with the death of Gabrielle “Britney” Lynn Ujlaky, 16, also of Spring Creek.
A skilled rider who hoped to one day become Rodeo Queen on the local circuit, Britney went missing on March 8.
Three days later, her body was found in the Burner Basin area of Spring Creek, near the city of Elko, according to the sheriff's office.
Britney UjlakyJustice for Britney Ujlaky/Facebook
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Dickey, who is accused of killing the teen who considered him her “big brother,” allegedly told deputies differing stories about what happened when she vanished, the Daily Beast reports.
On March 13, Dickey mourned her loss on Facebook.
“Yesterday, we all recieved (sic) news that made us hit the floor,” he wrote, tagging a group of friends. “Around 8 in the morning we all started meeting up at my house to grieve [and] to mourn britney's life. Which was taken far too soon. That day I had tears of pain and joy.
“I wish she could have seen the amount of us that came together to honor you sis. We love you so much. Just know you won't ever be forgotten.”
On March 11, Dickey posted a picture of Britney and reposted an update from another Facebook user about Britney’s body being found.
Ujlaky’s father, James Ujlaky, is heartbroken that a teen his daughter considered a longtime friend is now accused of killing her.
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“There’s no worse betrayal than this,” Ujlaky told the Daily Beast. “Because she really thought he was a good friend.”
His daughter, he told the outlet, "did trust everybody. She always saw the good."
“How dare you do this to a girl like that?" he continued.
Dickey is being held without bail at the Elko County Jail.
He has not yet entered a plea. It is unclear whether he has retained an attorney who can speak on his behalf.
Investigators "continue to conduct follow-up in the case which remains active,” the sheriff's office said in the release.
While Dickey awaits his next court date, Britney’s family and friends mourn the loss of the teen who dreamed of one day becoming a makeup artist and who loved horses.
The teen spent many hours volunteering at a nearby ranch, where she groomed horses and helped with cattle drives, according to the Daily Beast.
“She was always the first one saddled and ready to go,” her friend Cheyenne Fry, 18, told the outlet.
“She was always helping people out,” Fry said. “If it was house-sitting, babysitting, grooming their horses. Everyone knew her and loved her so much.”
Fry is shocked that Dickey is accused of killing Britney.
“He acted like her friend," she told the Daily Beast. "She called him her big brother.”