An Iowa teenager was murdered in Mexico after being returned to his birth country by the US government, CNN reports. Manuel Antonio Cano Pacheco, 19, had DACA status, a family, and worked as a mechanic while attending high school. "He was really happy in Iowa," his mother says. "It was the only home he knew." But two misdemeanor convictions, including a DUI while speeding, brought the father of a 1-year-old boy to the attention of immigration authorities, the Des Moines Register reports. Ultimately he opted for voluntary deportation on April 10 rather than face the penalties of full deportation, like not being allowed to return for several years, says a US Immigration and Customs spokeswoman.
Pacheco went out one night with a cousin's acquaintance in north-central Mexico, and both were murdered; Pacheco had his throat slit. "He was in the wrong place at the wrong time," says Juan Verduzco, a friend in Iowa. Verduzco describes Pacheco as a positive, kind person who fell into depression when his father was imprisoned on drug offenses a few years ago. "Things were going downhill," Verduzco says. "I didn't know what to do about it." Pacheco's mother, who brought him to the US without a visa at age 3, says the family is "devastated" but didn't attend the Mexico funeral because her other children have no passports. Pacheco's fate is not uncommon in Mexico, where violent cartels still reign and gangs prey on deportees from the US, the Dallas Morning News reported last year. (Read more deportation stories.)