Announcement of murdered student leaves stunned friends with unanswered questions

KING COUNTY, Wash. — Classmates of 16-year-old Juan Carlos Guzman say they hadn't noticed his conspicuous absence from class at Mount Rainier High School until they heard the heartbreaking announcement of Guzman's murder on Thursday afternoon.

Guzman's body was first spotted by fishermen Tuesday, Sept. 10 in the Green River near the 12700 block of SE Green Valley Road near Auburn.

King County Sheriff's spokesman Sgt. Ryan Abbott said few details were available about the murder, except that it was a grisly scene, and whatever happened likely happened near where Guzman's body was found.

In a place where students are supposed to get answers, friends of Guzman are left with a lot of questions.

"Every time I saw him in the hallway we'd shake hands," said Zion Lepak, who knew the fun-loving sophomore as "Carlos," since freshman year.

"A lot of people noticed today since (the information) went out, that he was missing, and he hasn't been here for a while," he said.

"I know for a fact that our detectives have been working nonstop since Tuesday on this case," said Abbott.

"He was always happy, and he had a lot of friends," Lepak said. "We played football out on the field and he was great guy."

Now Zion and everyone else who knew Carlos will gather with heavy hearts, and hope for justice in what is now a mystery with no clues.

"All his friends they're devastated," Lepak said.

The Highline School District said it will have a Care Team of counselors here tomorrow to help students deal with the grief and the fact that this is a mystery with few answers.

Anyone with information regarding Guzman's case are urged to call King County Sheriff's non-emergency number at 206-296 3311.

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