Texas police officers were shocked on Saturday when two teens running out of the woods told them the bizarre truth of what they had been doing in the secluded area. We were “burying a body,” said the young men.
Officers were called to the Garland, Texas site at approximately 9:30 p.m. to investigate a report of a car that had sped off the side of State Highway 78 when the 16-year-old teens came running out of the woods. Police waited near a vacant car that was found at the scene until the teens returned, at which time they asked the young men what they had been doing in the woods. After matter-of-factly telling police that they had been burying a body, officers searched the area. The body of Ivan Mejia was discovered in the woods from which the young men had emerged.
Both teenagers have been arrested under charges of first-degree murder and are being detained at a Collin County juvenile facility with no bail. Because they are juveniles, authorities will not release their identities, but police have confirmed that both young men attended Wylie East High School and that both are juniors there. The victim, Ivan Mejia, 17, attended the same school and was a senior.
A vigil remembering Mejia was held on Sunday night, where his friends spoke of Mejia’s dedication to the Marines and his plans to enroll in the armed forces after graduating from high school. Mejia belonged to the Wylie East Air Force Jr. Office Reserve Training Corps.
A preliminary investigation by police indicates that Mejia was murdered on Bennett Road behind Wylie East High School. The suspects transported his body to the wooded area in Garland, Texas. Although no motive has been found yet, Wylie Police sergeant Donna Valdepena believes that the murder was planned.
The Wylie, Texas school district has released a statement to say that the murder was not connected to the school or to any school or district function. Although the school is currently in spring break, district officials will provide counselors who will remain on campus throughout the week should students need help dealing with the tragedy.
Saturday’s slaying is unfortunately not the first in the recent history of Wylie East High School. In March of 2012, a 15-year-old freshman named Nahum Martinez was shot by a 14-year-old schoolmate. With help from another 14-year-old, they attempted to cover up the crime by wrapping the body in a blanket, dropping it from a second floor window, dragging Martinez’ body through the street, and attempting to hide it in a storm drain. According to Salma Montero, 13, Mejia and Nahum had been friends when Nahum was slain, which upset Mejia greatly.
Mejia is remembered by Montero as someone who was always laughing and smiling. Asking for prayers for his family, Montero could think of no reason as to why somebody would want to harm Montero, saying, “He was very loving and just a great person to be around. He cheered a lot of people up.”
By Jennifer Pfalz