Teenager arrested in stabbing death of 17-year-old friend in South El Monte

SOUTH EL MONTE, Calif. (KABC) -- A teenage friend of a 17-year-old found stabbed to death in South El Monte has been arrested on suspicion of murder, officials said.

The victim's father reported him missing when he did not show up for classes at South El Monte High School Wednesday morning. The boy's father said he called his son's closest friends and they searched for the teen. Around 4 p.m. Wednesday, the victim's friends found his body near the San Gabriel Riverbed, Los Angeles County sheriff's officials said.

Thursday morning, investigators received information that one of those friends may have been involved in the teen's death.

Authorities believe the friend lured 17-year-old Jeremy Sanchez to the riverbed before school Wednesday morning and stabbed him to death.

Authorities served a search warrant at that suspect's home and arrested him on suspicion of his friend's murder. The 16-year-old was booked at Los Padrinos Juvenile Detention Center. His name was not released because he is a minor.

The murder weapon has not yet been recovered.

A GoFundMe page has been created to help pay for Sanchez's funeral services.

"He loved playing sports he was on the varsity football team and also on the wrestling team," a statement on the page said of Sanchez. "We have no words to describe the grief that their family is experiencing right now."

Sanchez was a junior at the school and on the wrestling and varsity football teams.

Edward A. Zuniga, superintendent of the El Monte Union High School District, said more than 10 therapists, guidance counselors and school psychologists were available to grieving students.

"We are all still in shock over the death of our student, who was a popular student-athlete at South El Monte High," Zuniga said in a statement. "El Monte Union High School District sends our prayers and support to his family during this extraordinarily difficult time."

In the evening hours, family and friends attended a vigil near the area where he was found left candles, photos, balloons and messages.

"Jeremy was always such a great guy. He would always play with his heart and he would always be open to anybody who needed help," friend Luis Polino said.

If you have any information about this case, you're encouraged to contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's Homicide Bureau at (310) 890-5500. You can also submit anonymous tips by calling Crime Stoppers at dialing (800) 222-TIPS (8477).
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