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Body of Hispanic boy found near Las Vegas, community ‘shaken’

Updated May 28, 2021 - 10:11 pm

The body of a young boy was found off the highway between Las Vegas and Pahrump on Friday morning, and police are asking anyone with information to contact detectives.

About 7:30 a.m. Friday, a group of hikers on a trail off state Route 160 in Mountain Springs found the body behind a bush off of the trail, Metropolitan Police Department homicide Lt. Ray Spencer said.

“He is clearly the victim of a homicide,” Spencer said, although he did not say if detectives have determined exactly how the boy died.

The boy was described as a Hispanic 10-year-old, standing 4 feet, 11 inches and weighing 123 pounds, Spencer said.

“Within the last 24 hours is when we believe he was left at the scene,” Spencer said. “Anyone who cannot account for their grandson, their nephew … or son and does not know their whereabouts that fits that description, we urge them to call.”

At a news conference Friday evening, police showed a black-and-white photo of the boy drawn by Metro sketch artists.

Metro homicide detectives can be reached at 702-828-3521, and anonymous tips can be left with Crime Stoppers at 702-385-5555.

Spencer said officers were canvassing state Route 160 for video, from Pahrump to Interstate 15. A records check with Henderson, Las Vegas and North Las Vegas, as well as San Bernardino and Nye counties, showed no missing persons reports matching the boy’s description.

Spencer declined to provide information on any injuries the child suffered and what he was wearing.

A quiet town

Mountain Springs resident Anna Jones made a small wooden cross reading “RIP Sweet Child” that she placed underneath a tree Friday afternoon near where police were investigating hours earlier. She arranged a ring of dusty rocks to hold up the small memorial and a bouquet of fake red, purple and yellow flowers.

“I don’t know if he died here, but I’m going to put it here anyway,” Jones said. “And maybe sweet baby will go to heaven.”

The 58-year-old said police officers knocked on her and her neighbor’s doors Friday morning looking for any home security footage that could help the investigation. But like many others in the community of about 100 people, Jones doesn’t have cameras outside her home, she said.

Jones was shocked when she realized why police traveled into Mountain Springs on Friday morning, and she said someone needed to memorialize the boy.

“How can you do that?” she said about the boy’s death. “I just can’t even think of how that could happen.”

Shawna Burke, 63, lives in a home near where the body was found. About 7 a.m. Friday, Burke said, she left her home to go to the grocery store, and all she saw in the gravel parking area was a bag of trash.

Burke said she’s used to seeing at least one hiker in the area in the early mornings.

When she returned around 10 a.m., about a dozen police vehicles surrounded the area, she said.

“I was just shaken,” said Burke, who has lived in Mountain Springs for more than 20 years. “Nothing ever happens up here.”

Contact Katelyn Newberg at knewberg@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0240. Follow @k_newberg on Twitter. Review-Journal staff writers Glenn Puit and Sabrina Schnur contributed to this report.

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