Destiny Sanchez, 15, was beaten to death and her body was doused with bleach
The death of a 15-year-old Bronx girl found bruised and doused with bleach has been ruled a homicide and her stepmother’s brother will likely be charged with murder, law enforcement sources said Saturday. Luis Vega, 34, was taken into custody soon after the body of his sister’s stepdaughter, Destiny Sanchez, was found in the lobby of a three-family home in Hunts Point on Friday morning, cops said.
An autopsy performed Saturday concluded Sanchez was choked and smothered, officials said. Bleach had also been poured on her fully-clothed body, sources said. “She was a good spirit — very happy and outgoing,” said her grieving aunt, Michell Lopez, 37. Destiny — who was killed a week before her 16th birthday — was visiting her stepmother’s relatives at the Baretto St. home before she was killed.
“I’m in total shock,” said neighbor Angel Nieves, 43. “I’m still trying to digest it.”
Vega was allegedly drinking with the teen before she was found dead, sources said. Detectives charged him with endangering the welfare of a child after he clammed up during interviews, sources said. He was later taken to Jacobi Medical Center, where he was treated for a preexisting medical condition, sources said. Vivian Negron, 34 — who also lives in the Baretto St. building — said she saw Destiny’s body after hearing a woman scream about 8 a.m. Friday.
“We just saw her laying there,” said Negron. “Her body was purple.”
She said Destiny’s heart-stricken mother, Evalese Clemente, arrived a short time later. “I was hysterical,” Negron recalled. “When the mom came back, I held her. She was just screaming and crying. It’s devastating.” Family and friends gathered Saturday around a makeshift memorial in front of the house, which was two blocks from where Vega lived with Destiny’s stepmother.
Candles were lit around flower bouquets near a cardboard sign that read: “RIP Dee Dee Gone but never forgotten.”
A suspect has been arrested for providing alcohol to a 15-year-old girl who was found beaten to death, but he has not been charged in connection with her slaying.
Louis Vega, 34, is the brother of the stepmother of Destiny Sanchez, whose body was found Friday morning in a Bronx apartment building. He was charged Saturday with endangering the welfare of a minor, but not in her death. Meanwhile, an autopsy Saturday confirmed that Destiny Sanchez, 15, was the victim of a homicide. She was smothered and suffered compression injuries to her neck, according to the New York City Medical Examiner’s office.
Meanwhile, as CBS 2’s Sean Hennessey reported, in the Hunts Point section in the Bronx Friday night, family members of the victim came to the scene with candles and a simple question. “Why would they do this senseless crime to a 15-year-old?” said the victim’s cousin, Edwin Soto.
The teen’s body was discovered just after 8 a.m. Friday in the vestibule of an apartment building at 640 Baretto St., where her aunt lives. She was in the building Thanksgiving night visiting family. Detectives were working the scene Friday night and confirmed they had found traces of a bleach-like substance on the Destiny Sanchez’s beaten body. That has prompted the family to ask whether a chemical was used to conceal a crime, hiding evidence such as DNA.
Police said they were talking to everyone Sanchez came in contact with, but they were not questioning anyone as a suspect. However, detectives spent much of the night processing the top floor apartment. “She told me, ‘Tio, tio I found the body,’” said neighbor Jose Caraballo. “She found the body – dead.”
Caraballo’s niece found the body in the first-floor hallway. Sanchez’s family relayed disturbing details. “She was beaten to death,” Edwin Soto said. “I heard about bleach. She had bleach on her pants, on her stomach,” said cousin Charlie Soto. While detectives tried to retrace the teen’s steps by looking at neighborhood surveillance videos, the teen’s devastated family was also searching for answers.
“It’s not worth it, for what?” said cousin Jonathan Regalo, addressing the killer. “What did she do to you? She’s just a little girl.” “We don’t know if there was any sexual abuse. We don’t know if there was any gang affiliation,” Edwin Soto added. And they have this message for whoever is responsible. “I just want you all to come forward, turn yourself in, because you all know who you all are,” Charlie Soto said. “And just stop running.” Sanchez was a high school freshman at the Academy of Scholarship and Entrepreneurship, at 921 E. 228th St. in the Bronx.
Detectives do not know why anyone would have wanted to hurt Sanchez for any reason.
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