WYLIE, Texas (CBSDFW.COM/AP) – Two 16-year-olds are accused of targeting and killing a classmate after Wylie police say they were caught trying to dump the other boy’s body.
The teens are being held in the death of 17-year-old Ivan Mejia, a senior at Wylie East High School, northeast of Dallas. They appeared before a judge Monday afternoon, where prosecutors revealed the two planned the murder for nearly a week when they learned one of them was dating the same girl as Mejia. Authorities say one of the suspects put Mejia in a headlock and pinched his nose, while the other stuffed a sock in his mouth.
The two boys, who are juniors at Wylie East, have not been identified because they are juveniles. A Collin County judge has ordered the teen suspects to be held in juvenile detention for several more days citing the violent nature of the crime. The teens have been charged with first degree murder. At this point, they will be tried as juveniles but they could be certified as adults at a later time.
A 911 call Saturday about a car veering off a highway led police to a wooded area in Garland, south of Wylie, where authorities say they spotted the teens. Police said that when the two were interrogated, the boys said they were trying to get rid of Mejia’s body.
Police say Mejia had been killed on a road behind the Wylie school.
Mejia was remembered by friends for his ambition to help others and to one day join the Marines.
Enrique Hernandez, a 17-year-old resident of nearby Frisco, Texas, went to church with Mejia and remembers seeing him wear his ROTC uniform.
“He had trained to go to the Marines and was awaiting his shipment date,” Hernandez said in an email. “He had previously promised his mom that he would come back from the Marines safely.”
Hernandez said Mejia was someone who worried about others and was quick to lend a helping hand.
“He had so many people he could help and he tried to help them all,” Hernandez said.
Neighbors, like Jana Thomas, say Mejia was a nice kid. Her father had a close relationship with Mejia and his family.
“We were very upset about it we were completely shocked it happened so close and that he had actually passed away,” Thomas said.
One of the suspect’s mothers released this statement:
“We are in deep sorrow, shock and disbelief please respect our privacy in this dark time. Our hearts and prayers go out to all of the families involved.”
Mejia’s death comes two years after another Wylie East student was killed, and a fellow teenager was sentenced in that case.
Wylie East student Nahum Martinez, 15, was fatally shot two years ago and left near a storm drain. A 15-year-old teen involved in trying to hide Martinez’s body was given 15 years in prison last year.
Valdepena said police were not concerned about the safety situation at Wylie East.
“This did not involve the school in any manner,” she said Monday.
Ian Halperin, a spokesman for the Wylie school district, said the high school would make counselors available for students when they return from spring break next week.
“The entire Wylie ISD community is shocked and saddened by this senseless act,” Halperin said. “We are cooperating with the police as they investigate, and we hope they will be able to provide us with some understanding of how this tragedy unfolded.”
(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
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