Boy Is Victim of 'Savage' Killing Near Orange

Times Staff Writer

Authorities on Wednesday identified a homicide victim found this week at an exclusive housing development near Orange as the 17-year-old co-captain of El Modena High School's wrestling team.

The bloodied body of Diego Armando Gonzalez-Sanchez of Orange was reported about 3:30 p.m. Monday in the driveway of an abandoned house in Orange Park Acres.

"All I can say is that it was a very savage, brutal homicide," Jim Amormino, a spokesman for the Orange County Sheriff's Department, said Wednesday.

"We know the cause of death, but in order not to compromise the investigation I can't reveal the cause -- or any evidence -- at this time."

He said the murder did not appear to be gang-related.

Gonzalez-Sanchez's body was discovered by a group of high school students about 8 a.m. Monday, Amormino said, but "they apparently were late for school or cutting class [and] became frightened" and didn't tell anyone about it until seven hours later. "That's a concern," he said. "When somebody sees something that isn't ordinary, especially something as brutal and vicious as this, it should be reported immediately."

The students are not considered suspects, Amormino said.

Because the body bore no documents, he said, it could not be positively identified until early Wednesday when Gonzalez-Sanchez's parents reported him missing.

"They filed a missing-person's report with the Orange Police Department Tuesday night," Amormino said. "The investigators knew we had an unidentified murder victim. We contacted the parents, received a photo and it turned out to be the same guy."

A woman responding to a call to a youth wrestling program that uses El Modena's facilities declined to comment. "The coach will have lots to say about it in the morning," she said.

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