SHINGLE SPRINGS — A 16 year old Ponderosa High School Student was arrested and charged with murdering his relative Thursday after deputies say they found a body at his home and a loaded handgun in his possession on campus.
The El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office removed the body from a home on Neef Lane in Shingle Springs late Thursday. At the time, they did not identify the victim, or how or when that person was killed.
However, neighbors close to the family told FOX40 the victim had been missing for a couple of days.
The Sheriff’s Department has not revealed the name of the suspect because he is a minor. He was booked into juvenile hall Thursday and charged with murder.
Deputies say they detained the suspect at Ponderosa High School Thursday morning and arrested him for bringing a loaded firearm onto campus. Some time after the suspect was brought in for questioning, the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office announced it was working on a homicide investigation at his home.
“I’ve spent a lot of time with him and I really think a lot of him. I told him, I says, ‘I’ll be your big brother as long as you want.’ We’ve climbed mountains together and I’ve told him, ‘You can just pull me up the mountain behind you when I’m too old to climb,” Herschel Leffler said.
Leffler told FOX40 he was the suspect’s mentor through the Big Brothers and Big Sisters of America. He said they had plans to see a movie Thursday evening, but when he arrived at the home on Neef Lane to pick him up, he instead discovered detectives combing the property for evidence amidst the homicide investigation.
Leffler described the suspect as a respectful and energetic young man, a cross country runner who wanted to join the military. He said he lived at the home on Neef Lane with his great aunt and great uncle who cared for him after his mother lost custody.
“I tried to help him however I could. He was wonderful. He was always great with me,” Leffler said.
But a neighbor told FOX40 off camera that she had been scared of the 16-year-old since he was a boy. She said she had witnessed him being cruel to animals.
“There was other people that would say, ‘Oh, THAT kid. He’s just different,'” a Ponderosa High School student named Nick said.
Nick said the suspect was in his English class, and described him only as quiet. He said word traveled fast on campus that their fellow classmate was arrested and that he might have had trouble with the law in the past.
“You know, if that kid was an outcast or didn’t have many friends that just makes us want to come together as a community, as a school and build that relationship between each other, because you never know,” Nick said.
The El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office said they did not believe any students or staff at Ponderosa High School had any safety concerns.