Four Arrested In Murder of Boy Who Lived As Girl
[NEWARK, CA] ? Police arrested four men on suspicion of murder after finding a body they believe is that of a missing 17-year-old Newark boy who lived as a girl.
The boy (sic) was last seen at a party in Newark, an East San Francisco Bay suburb, on Oct. 3 where he got into a heated argument and physical fight with several people, police said.
|Gwen Araujo, 17, found buried in a shallow grave after being reported missing for two weeks.|
Police believe the boy was assaulted and killed in Newark. Morrison described it as a "haunting and gruesome situation."
He refused to say how the boy was killed.
Police found the body Wednesday in a shallow grave near Silver Fork Campground in Placerville, El Dorado County about 150 miles northeast of his home. They were directed to the spot by a suspect a day earlier.
Police said Friday they were waiting for autopsy results before releasing the victim's identity.
But Newark Unified School District Superintendent Ken Sherer identified the boy as Eddie Araujo, an independent study student since the eighth grade. He would have been a senior this year, but hadn't shown up at Crossroads High School this fall.
The teenager had chosen to dress like a girl "for some time," according to Newark police Lt. Tom Milner.
"We don't know if that's the prime factor in the altercation or if there were other factors involved such as revenge," he said. "These things are all definitely in play."
Michael William Magidson, 27, Jaron Chase Nabors, 19, Paul Richard Merel Jr., 25, and his brother, Jose Antonio Merel, 24, all of Newark, were arrested Wednesday and were each being held on suspicion of homicide, Milner said. Investigators also were looking at adding hate crime enhancements.
Nabors was expected to be arraigned Friday. Court dates had not yet been set for the others.
A teacher who knew Araujo told the San Jose Mercury News he was a "happy-go-lucky" and intelligent teen who was well-liked by his peers. Other teachers in the district expressed shock and sadness at the news.
"Many of the students know him. One student told me that he was a cross-dresser and she thinks that's maybe why he was killed," said Mary Kay Henderson, a teacher at Newark Memorial High School. "We're heartsick."
The Newark community has taken pains to teach tolerance this year. In November, Newark Memorial High School will perform "The Laramie Project." The play chronicles the murder of Matthew Shepard, an openly gay University of Wyoming student who was killed in October 1998. A Kansas fundamentalist preacher has promised to picket the play.