Two 16-year-old boys were charged Sunday with first-degree murder in the death of a 17-year-old schoolmate at Wylie East High School, police said.
Ivan Mejia’s body was found in Garland on Saturday night, police said. They did not say how he died.
Wylie police said that the boys killed Mejia behind their school, on Bennett Road, on Saturday night. Police said the slaying of the high school senior was planned. The suspects, whose names were not released because they are juveniles, disposed of the body in a wooded area in Garland.
Shortly after 9:30 p.m. on Saturday, a 911 caller reported that a car was veering off State Highway 78 near Firewheel Town Center mall toward a wooded area, said Officer Joe Harn, a spokesman with the Garland Police Department.
When Garland officers responded to the call, they saw a vacant car and two 16-year-olds running from the area. When they returned to the car, police were waiting and asked them what they were doing, said Wylie Sgt. Donna Valdepena.
She said they told police: “We are burying a body.”
Garland police found Mejia’s body nearby and contacted Wylie police.
The two Wylie East students are being held at the Collin County Juvenile Detention facility. Bail has not been set.
At a vigil on Sunday night, Mejia’s friends said that he wanted to enroll in the military after high school. He was a member of the Wylie East Air Force Jr. Office Reserve Training Corps.
“Ivan was dedicated to the Marines,” said Cody Wilson, who was in ROTC with Mejia.
Wilson said Mejia used to stare at a poster in an ROTC classroom of two Marines in uniform with medals and ribbons.
“Every time we had something to do with Marines, he was always front and center, always watching, always listening,” he said. “I could tell he wanted it bad. I knew in my heart he would have been the best.”
Wylie ISD spokesman Ian Halperin said the incident was not connected to any school or district-sponsored activity. He said counselors will be available at the Wylie East High School campus this week during spring break.
“The entire Wylie ISD community is shocked and saddened by this senseless act,” Halperin said in a prepared statement. “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.”
It is the second slaying involving Wylie East High School students in recent years.
Freshman Nahum Martinez, 15, was shot in the forehead at close range in March 2012. The classmate who shot him was 14 at the time. He and another 14-year-old classmate wrapped Nahum’s body in a comforter, dropped it out a second-story window, dragged his body down the street and tried to stuff it down a storm drain.
The shooter was sentenced to 15 years in custody in June. The second teen pleaded guilty for his role in disposing of Nahum’s body. He was sentenced in September 2012 to a year in the juvenile justice system followed by probation until he turns 18.
Mejia was friends with Nahum and was very upset by his death, said Salma Montero, 13, who met Mejia a few years ago at a church youth group in Plano.
Montero remembers Mejia as a “cool guy” who was always smiling, laughing and telling jokes. She said his family is “trying the hardest with this situation” and asks for prayers.
“I have no idea why someone would do this to him,” Montero said. “He was very loving and just a great person to be around. He cheered a lot of people up.”