WYLIE, Texas – Two 16-year-olds are accused of targeting and killing a classmate in what may have been a dispute over a girl, after police in Texas 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. Mejia’s death comes two years after another Wylie East student was killed, and a fellow teenager was sentenced in that case.
Authorities said in court Monday that the boys choked Mejia to death, and that the victim and one of the boys appeared to be involved with the same girl, local media reported. A judge in suburban Collin County ordered that the teens be kept in detention.
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.
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Police say Mejia had been killed on a road behind the Wylie school.
The two boys, who are juniors at Wylie East, were not identified because they are juveniles. They were being held in Collin County juvenile detention and face murder charges, Wylie Police Sgt. Donna Valdepena said Monday.
She said it was clear Mejia had been targeted by the boys and that there could be other potential suspects in his death.
“This was planned,” Valdepena said. “We do have evidence that it was pre-planned.”
Valdepena said an autopsy is pending.
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.
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.”