Slain Ariz. teen runner's family pleads for help

The family of a 13-year-old boy who was gunned down while on a morning jog in what police say was a random act is pleading for the public's help finding the killer.

Speaking in front of a memorial of teddy bears, personal notes and a football, Jonathan Garcia's family said Wednesday they need closure and justice.

"It's horrible. It's wrong," said Isaac Espinoza, Jonathan's stepfather. "Our family has been torn apart. ... All we want is just help. We want closure."

Jonathan left for a run from his house in east Phoenix on Sunday, and a half-hour later he was shot dead. No witnesses or suspects in the shooting have been found, and police believe it's a random incident. They say Jonathan had no known enemies and wasn't involved in anything illegal.

Phoenix police Sgt. Trent Crump said Wednesday there have been no new developments in the case.

Earlier in the week, he said police were concerned because of the crime's randomness, Jonathan's age and the fact that the teen was simply out running during daylight hours.

"Certainly when you have a 13-year-old that is shot to death on a morning jog, it needs to alarm us all," Crump said.

Espinoza said he has been Jonathan's stepfather for six years, and that Jonathan and his mother moved to the U.S. from Honduras about 10 years ago. He said Jonathan's dad was killed in a shooting in Honduras two years ago, but didn't know much else about him.

Espinoza said Jonathan was a dedicated student who was always asking for new stationery, pens and pencils, and other school supplies, and was often playfully teased about being a "teacher's pet."

He said the teen's dream was to be a doctor, and that he recently started running to get in shape to play flag football with his friends.

"Someone knows something," Espinoza said. "I put myself in the position where if I knew a family member of mine had committed such a crime that would destroy somebody's life, there's just no way I'd be able to harbor that person, even if it was my own brother, my own mother, my own son."

Espinoza added Jonathan's mother has just one other child and is so devastated by his killing, she hasn't eaten in three days. "She's inconsolable," he said.



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