Four students at Homestead Job Corps in Florida are facing murder charges after the body of 17-year-old Jose Amaya Guardado was discovered in a nearby wooded area, according to Miami Herald. On June 28, Guardado was reported missing when he failed to return to campus after asking permission to leave to buy food.
Three days later, the Miami native’s decomposed and unrecognizable body was found by his brothers, who searched for him relentlessly after learning of his disappearance. Sources say the brothers first discovered two feet protruding from a burned area and immediately alerted police.
It was later confirmed that the remains found in the woods belonged to the missing teen. Three teens, 20-year-old Kaheem Arbelo, Jonathan Lucas, 18, and Christian Colon, 19, — who all attended Homestead Job Corps and are orginally from the Miami area — later came forward and made a video confession, claiming to have taken part in brutally murdering the student. According to the New York Daily News, the students told police officials that after Guardado left campus, they lured him to a nearby wooded area where they ambushed him, repeatedly striking him with a machete.
A third murder suspect, 18-year-old Desiray Strickland, who was arrested Wednesday, informed police that she “missed the first series of machete strikes because she had walked away for a few minutes to urinate in the woods.” When she returned, Guardado was being hacked to death with a machete.
“The victim made one last attempt to fight off the attackers,” a detective wrote, “at which time, (Arbelo) struck the victim with the machete several more times until the victim’s face caved in.”
Afterward, they forced their victim to lay in a shallow grave they had dug two weeks prior. Documents stated the sadistic job corps students planned the murder two weeks in advance. They even dug his grave and placed a machete at the scene three days before the murder took place.
— Sheldon Fox-7 News (@fox_sheldon) July 7, 2015
The victim’s family were distraught over the brutal killing and wanted answers. Although a motive has not been revealed, investigators believe that Guardado was slaughtered “over a debt he owed to Arbelo, who is a suspected drug dealer on the Homestead campus.”
After the killing, Lucas and Colon cleaned the area and burned Guardado’s belongings before returning to campus, but Strickland — who is accused of being the ringleader — and Arbelo stayed behind to have celebratory sex.
The four homestead Job Corps students are currently being held at the Miami-Dade jail on second-degree murder charges, awaiting trial. However, the charges could change, and they may face first-degree murder charges. If they are convicted of brutally murdering Jose Amaya Guardado, they could serve life in prison or receive the death penalty.
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