Murder Mystery: Seattle Police, family seek justice after teen killed in apparent robbery
SEATTLE — A 15-year-old boy from West Seattle was supposed to start another year of high school last week. Instead, his family is planning his funeral after they say he was violently attacked at a West Seattle park on Tuesday, September 5th.
Detectives believe he may have been the victim of a robbery and they are asking the community for any leads that may help solve this case.
Italia Juarez-Lopez says the last time she spoke to her 15-year-old brother Derek was that morning. She says he called her in a panic.
“He said, 'Please come, I just got jumped!' I just heard the phone and wind like he’s running; running from somebody, running from something,” says Italia.
Italia says Derek told his family he’d planned to meet up with a girl earlier that morning before attending his sophomore orientation at Chief Sealth High School. Seattle police believe he may have been the victim of a robbery.
“I don’t know what my little brother was doing in the woods. He had nothing on him; his backpack. He had a backpack and that was gone,” says Italia.
Investigators believe it happened near the southern end of Westcrest Park.
“He got stabbed in the chest, stabbed in the stomach and then the back of the head. They opened the back of his head. They had to have hit him with something,” says Italia.
After calling his sister for help, Derek collapsed at the corner of SW Cambridge Street and 6th Avenue SW.
“He flagged down a lady. He was covered in blood and he flagged down a lady and she called 911 right away,” says Italia.
Italia says Derek later died at the hospital.
Derek’s mother, Veronica, says she desperately needs answers. She is not alone in her grief.
On Wednesday night, friends and loved ones gathered by candlelight to honor his life and say goodbye.
This week, WMW host David Rose went out with Seattle homicide detectives to post Crime Stoppers fliers in the area around 5th Ave. SW and SW Campbridge St. in West Seattle, to ask for the public's help to solve the case.
"We have received some calls where the caller actually hung up early. If you are that person, remember, you can remain anonymous. We're not tracking calls or anything. When you call the hot line you truly are anonymous, so if you are that person, please call back," said Ret. Det. Myrle Carner with Crime Stoppers of Puget Sound.
Crime Stoppers is offering a $1,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest in this case. If you know anything, you're urged to call 1-800-222-TIPS, or use the P3 Tips App to submit your information.