The infamous MS-13 gang is believed to be behind the murder of a male who was found in Washington with one hand severed and the other barely attached.
The body, found beneath the Chain Bridge near the popular Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Towpath, was badly beaten and hacked with what detectives believe was a machete.
One hand was completely severed while the other was barely attached.
— WUSA9 (@wusa9) May 4, 2019
Tuscarora High School Principal Christopher Berry said in a letter (pdf) to students and parents on May 2 that Sánchez had died. The Metro Police Department, though, said that the identification of the body hasn’t been completed yet.
“I know what they’re saying, but it’s too early to make a positive identification,” Metropolitan Police Department Chief Peter Newsham told NBC 4. “The victim’s face was so badly beaten, a positive identification will take more time.”
Blue and white bags were tied to trees marking a trail to an enclave in the woods where the body was found. The colors are used by the transnational gang, which is known to favor beheadings and other brutal execution methods to send messages to the families of victims and others. Investigators removed the bags as forensic evidence.
A student who chose to stay anonymous told NBC 4 that Sánchez had only attended the school for a few months and believed the teen was from El Salvador.
Eberson Guerra Sánchez, un alumno de Tuscarora High School, fue reportado desaparecido la semana pasada y hallado muerto durante el fin de semana https://t.co/l8PYBZwcks
— Telemundo 44 DC (@Telemundo44) May 2, 2019
Berry said in the letter that officials didn’t think there was a threat to other students. “We have no reason at this time to believe the circumstances are connected to Tuscarora High School or other students who attend here,” he wrote.
The suspected MS-13 murder of Sanchez came just three days before three men believed to be members of the MS-13 gang were indicted for their alleged involvement in the kidnapping and murder of a rival gang member in Nevada. The three men, all illegal aliens, allegedly restrained the victim and stabbed him while holding a gun to his head. When he tried to run, they shot him. The men then chopped up his body.
The gang, also known as Mara Salva 13, originated in Los Angeles but spread to El Salvador as members were deported from the United States. The transnational criminal organization is believed to have more than 10,000 members and regularly conducts gang activities in at least 10 states, including Maryland, and across Central America and Mexico.
In late March, six MS-13 members in New York, including two from Maryland, were indicted for allegedly conspiring to murder a fellow gang member who they thought was cooperating with law enforcement.
“Our intelligence shows that their plan was to kill him by shooting him with a firearm they planned on purchasing, butchering him with a machete, or by burning him to death,” Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy Sini said in a press release.
“This goes to show how ruthless this gang is and is part of their [modus operandi]: They conspire to kill rival gang members but they also conspire to kill their own when they allegedly violate the rules of the gang.”