By David Greene
BRONX, NEW YORK, November 27- A popular teenager was strangled and left for dead in the hallway of a Hunts Point building, hours after she celebrated the Thanksgiving holiday with relatives.
Police were called to 632 Barretto Street at just after 8 a.m., on November 23. Family members say 15-year old Destiny Sanchez was semiconscious when she was found by her brother inside the hallway of the three-family home.
According to the victim’s step-sister Felicity Lopez, 13, Sanchez was found by her brother Keith. Lopez tearfully recalled, "I slapped her and she was waking up."
Family members say Sanchez' face and tongue were swollen and the victim had reportedly been doused in bleach. The killer may have used it to cover the crime and remove any trace of DNA evidence, sparking speculation that the pretty teen may have been the victim of a sexual assault.
Crime scene investigators worked for hours in and around the building and removed potential evidence from the hallway and focused on the first-floor apartment that had been vacant for the last two weeks.
An unidentified cousin whose eyes were bloodshot from crying, stated, "We had heard that Hector Camacho had died, the legend, and we were already crying, and we didn't know him."
Family members say Sanchez, who lived in Wakefield, but often stayed with relatives on nearby Spofford Avenue, was a 9th grader at the Academy for Scholarship and Entrepreneurship and dreamed of becoming a lawyer.
One resident of the block claimed drugs and prostitution have plagued the block for more than a decade. The resident added, "For the most part it's quiet here. The block isn't like some blocks where you see the drug dealers outside."
The resident added, "You know the murder and suicide rate always goes up around Christmas time, it's terrible."
The following day the Office of the City's Medical Examiner determined that Sanchez had been strangled.
Police questioned and later arrested Luis Vega, 34, the brother of Sanchez' step-mother. Vega reportedly allowed Sanchez to drink alcohol in his presence. Vega was charged with endangering the welfare of a child and one police source stated that Vega remains a suspect in the murder.
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