A community in Centreville, Virginia is lamenting the death of 17-year-old Matthew Ortega, whose body was discovered in the front yard of a vacant home, Fox 5 DC reported. At around 5:17 a.m. on Wednesday, February 14, a delivery truck driver discovered a body in the 13000 block of Jeb Stuart Square, near Centreville Farms Community Association and immediately alerted Fairfax County Police.
When emergency crew arrived at the scene, paramedics pronounced the boy dead. His remains were transported to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for an autopsy to determine a cause of death.
At this time, the Fairfax County Police Department says that the circumstances leading up to Matthew’s death or a motive will not be released due to an ongoing investigation. Officials did, however, confirm that Matthew was discovered with trauma to his upper body area.
Initially, Centreville authorities were unable to identify the body and turned to the public for help. The victim’s black sweatshirt with a skull and snake design on the front was released. It was not immediately made clear if that photo helped with identifying the teen, but two days later, Fairfax County Police officials were able to make a positive identification.
Matthew was an eleventh-grade student at Centreville High School, and it was reported that he lived a short distance from where his body was discovered.
Dave Jagels, the principal at Centreville High School, sent a letter home to parents that stated that he reached out to Matthew’s family to offer his condolences and support, according to WTOP.
Fairfax County Police Chief Edwin Roessler stated that “it’s a very delicate issue.” He went on to say that “it is a difficult position for law enforcement to be in, to seek permission from a grieving family” in order to release the victim’s name to the public. “It’s a horrible thing that we have to do, but I understand the law, I obey the law and we treat every victim as a precious person and do the best we can to seek that permission.”
Matthew’s GoFund Me page was established to help the family with the teen’s funeral cost and arrangements. Within three days and with the help of nearly 200 people, the family was able to raise almost $15,000.
If you have any information regarding Matthew’s death, you are urged to contact the Major Crimes Bureau at 703-246-7800 or Crime Solvers electronically by visiting Fairfax County Crime Solvers. Or you have the option of sending a tip via text message by texting “TIP187” plus your message to CRIMES (274637).
You may also call 1-866-TIPS (8477) or call the Fairfax County Police Department at 703-691-2131.
Matthew’s death is being investigated as a homicide. No arrests have been made at this time.