Christopher Alexis Gomez and Juan Suarez-Ojeda crossed the US-Mexico border the day after Thanksgiving to attend a barbecue in Ensenada. Their plan was to head home to San Diego later that night. When they didn’t return, family members contacted authorities in Baja California and searched for the pair over the weekend. On Sunday, Tijuana police gave them devastating news: The bodies of 17-year-old Gomez, 18-year-old Suarez-Ojeda, and an 18-year-old friend from Tijuana were found at an apartment complex in that city, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. Local authorities say the three teens had been tortured, stripped down to their underwear, forced to kneel, and then shot in the head execution-style. Their bodies were discovered before the front door of an apartment on Lomas Verdes Avenue, local news outlet Punto Norte reports, adding that no shell casings were left behind and no one has been able to describe the killers.
“Who does this to three young boys who had their whole life ahead of them?” Katheryn Garcia, Gomez’s cousin, tells ABC10. Gomez was reportedly a football player and senior at O’Farrell Charter High School who had recently gotten his first job and was planning to join the Marines upon graduation. Suarez-Ojeda was a recent graduate of Ingenuity Charter School. Garcia tells the Union-Tribune that it was Gomez’s first trip to Baja California, saying, “I know how this story sounds … you go to Tijuana and this happens. But he was the most selfless, kindest boy ever. This shouldn’t have happened to him.” In all, there were seven shooting homicides in Tijuana over that weekend, the Spanish-language Uniradio Informa reports. The O’Farrell Charter school has set up a GoFundMe page to help cover funeral expenses for the San Diego teens. (A North Carolina teacher was killed in Mexico.)