The brother of a Palmdale man allegedly killed by three transients last year while hopping freight trains and riding the rails in search of adventure told a local news station he wants his sibling to be remembered for chasing his dreams, not for being a victim.
In an interview with Sacramento's Fox 40, Josh Alpert said his 19-year-old brother, John, was realizing their shared aspiration of temporarily living "off the grid" and train hopping when he was killed in Roseville, Calif., in March 2013.
"He was very much wanting to go on a journey," Alpert said. "I don't want him to be remembered as the kid who went train hopping and got killed on his first train hop … I want him to be the person who really went after what he wanted and not let life happen to him."
Detectives last week announced they had arrested three train hoppers -- two men and a woman -- in connection with John Alpert's slaying. His body was found near a rail yard about two months after he was killed.
Josh Alpert told Fox 40 he had wanted to hop trains with his brother, but he had to deal with school work so John went alone. John Alpert checked in with his family every day and planned on returning home to Palmdale about two weeks after setting out on his adventure, his brother said.
But in mid-March, he stopped calling.
"Everyone's rationale was his phone probably died," Josh Alpert said. "He's probably hitchhiking his way home."
But then his mom checked his cellphone bill and noticed he was calling a number they didn't recognize. That number, Josh Alpert said, belonged to one of his brother's suspected killers, 30-year-old Laura Lee Kenner, who was arrested along with Jules Clifford Carrillo, 21, and Edward Taylor Anauo, 23, in connection with the slaying.
Kenner was arrested in New Mexico and the two men were arrested in Nebraska.
The three are being held without bail and await extradition.