The alleged remains of a missing teen has been found, and a 16-year old is charged with murdering and kidnapping, Alaska Dispatch News is reporting.
David Grunwald's body was reportedly found Friday, and the remains have been taken to the State Medical Examiner for identification and to determine what caused his death. Erick Almandinger was charged with first degree murder. Grunwald disappeared three weeks ago, and his mother claimed that her son's girlfriend told her he was going to Erick's house, 48 hours after he disappeared.
"His girlfriend said that he had mentioned to her that she was going to stop by a friend Erick's house on the way home…we didn't know Erick. We still don't know Erick. But I immediately called Erick's dad to find out who, what, when or where…and so the troopers are following up on that."Edith Grunwald said that her son might have been trying to help someone with a ride or catching up with an old friend, but unfortunately ended up getting killed instead.
"I think that somebody maybe needed a ride somewhere and David's got wheels and he's always willing to help out, and really a nice sweet kid. So he probably thought he was maybe going to give a ride to somebody, or maybe was just checking to see how they were doing. He likes to keep up with friends around the area."Erick Almandinger was in state court Saturday. According to online records, Alaska troopers are looking at others who could have been involved in the incident. The authorities refused to divulge further details, citing that the investigation was still an ongoing one.
Gurnwald went missing November 13 after dropping off his girlfriend. His parents said they got worried when he did not return to the family residence around 9:30 pm. State troopers found his burnt 1995 Ford Bronco on a dirt track the next day around noon. The vehicle was found near the Talkeetna Mountains north of Wasilla, 21 miles from where he dropped off his girlfriend.
The discovery of David's vehicle sparked off a search with hundreds of people combing wide areas looking for him. A private investigator, Brenda Paradise, is providing her services for free to the Grunwald family.On Saturday, she revealed that where David's alleged body was found was one of the places that she had planned on checking, but the snow had slowed down her efforts. Paradise said concerted efforts to find the missing teen would continue if the remains were not confirmed as David's.
"This was absolutely in the areas where we have been searching. We've had dogs out in several locations this week but the snow just made it really difficult to find anything, to do any searching. I'm going to urge the community to keep calling in…this is not the end, this is just the beginning. And what I mean by that is this is time for answers and closure for the family."A candlelight vigil was held for David on Saturday. Over 150 people attended, singing and sharing memories of him. Zach Lamphier, his former high school teacher, said David brought "so much energy, enthusiasm, life and humor to the classroom." His girlfriend's father said he would always appreciate the day that David Grunwald asked if he could date his daughter.
"I thanked God that day, that I was so lucky to have such a well-mannered, incredible, well-raised young man from such a good family ask to date my daughter."Erick Almandinger is not the only teen that has been arrested and charged with murder. Another 16-year-old has been arrested for the murder of his classmate. Lee Manuel Viloria-Paulino's body was found near the Massachusetts River after disappearing two weeks ago. A woman walking her dog had found a body around 2:45 pm and called the police. The corpse had been hacked at the arms close to the elbows and was headless. The body was identified as Lee Manuel Viloria-Paulino's when his head was recovered.
Matthew Borges, a teenager who attended Lawrence High School alongside Paulino, has been arrested and will be arraigned on Monday as an adult on first-degree murder.
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