LOS ANGELES – Investigators have learned there was a romantic relationship between a 16-year-old boy and the 17-year-old boy he is suspected of fatally stabbing in suburban Los Angeles, authorities say.
Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Nicole Nishida confirmed the relationship Friday. The two teens had previously been described as very good friends.
The body of Jeremy Sanchez was found Wednesday in a riverbed in South El Monte after he failed to show up at school.
The teen’s father had assembled a group of the boy’s close friends to search for him.
“The person who killed him is the one who said, ‘Look there he is,'” sheriff’s homicide Lt. John Corina said.
Investigators believe the teenage suspect, whose name hasn’t been released because of his age, stabbed Sanchez multiple times and left his body in the wooded area.
Sanchez’s cousin, Briana Amigon, said in a post on GoFundMe that he loved playing sports and was on his school’s football and wrestling teams.
“We have no words to describe the grief that their family is experiencing right now,” she wrote.
Edward Zuniga, superintendent of El Monte Union High School District, said Sanchez was a popular student athlete and that school officials were in shock over his death. The district offered grief counseling to students, he said.
“Jeremy was a very respectful kid, very outgoing, and always had a smile on his face,” his wrestling coach, Ray Castellanos, said after visiting a memorial set up at the riverbed where he was killed. “I’m devastated. It’s not supposed to be this way.”
The teenage suspect was arrested Thursday when detectives grew wary of his story after hearing conflicting statements during interviews, Corina said.