Boys found dead in trunk of car
Saturday, June 25, 2005
CAMDEN, N.J. -- The father of a missing 6-year-old boy found his son's body and those of his two young friends in the trunk of a car Friday, two days after the children disappeared from a nearby yard where they were playing.
The boys had vanished from the yard next to one boy's home on Wednesday evening. The car where they were found was parked in a driveway next to the yard.
A neighbor, Carmen Villa, said she saw David Agosto open the trunk of the car Friday and collapse to his knees screaming. Police Chief Edwin Figueroa said the vehicle had been searched before, but it was not clear whether the trunk was checked.
The boys had been the subject of a massive search since their disappearance. About 150 police, firefighters and other officials searched Friday using boats, helicopters, all-terrain vehicles and tracking dogs.
Neighbors in this desperately poor, crime-ridden city of about 80,000 people across the Delaware River from Philadelphia also passed out fliers to motorists with the boys' photos and descriptions.
At dusk, hundreds of people milled about in the neighborhood, many in tears, as news helicopters hovered overhead.
"If it was one of my kids, I'd be devastated, like into a million pieces," said neighbor Maria Rolon, 28.
Anibal and Daniel both lived in Camden's largely Puerto Rican Cramer Hill neighborhood. Jesstin lived several miles away in Mount Ephraim. He and his mother had been visiting Anibal's home at the time of their disappearance.
Relatives said Anibal often played with younger children -- in part because they were more like him than kids his age. He suffered from neurological problems and had just finished the fifth grade at a school for special needs students.
"He may be 11 years old, but his mind is more like a 4- or 3-year-old," said his grandmother, Carmen Cruz.
Daniel disappeared a day before his last day of kindergarten. He had never gone off the block alone before, said his mother, Iraida Roman. She described him as a regular kid who liked to "ride bikes, play in the dirt -- simple kid stuff."
Jesstin also attended a special needs school, said a family friend, Cornell Worlds Jr. The boy idolized the Los Angeles Lakers and star player Kobe Bryant, Worlds said.
He was "a good-spirited type of kid," Worlds said.