- Associated Press - Monday, September 22, 2014

HOUSTON (AP) - Family and friends are mourning a Houston-area teenager whose body was found mutilated and left in the woods.

A memorial was held Sunday for 14-year-old Jose Meraz. Houston police say a man walking his dog near the Addicks Reservoir found the boy’s body Sept. 15. Family members tell KTRK-TV he was murdered with a machete and that they believe the killing to be gang related.

Church members at the service tell The Houston Chronicle the teen was living with a cousin in August after having trouble with re-enrolling at school. The former Stovall Middle School student had lived with his aunt after his father was deported to Honduras and his mother went too.

The pastor says the boy stayed in Texas because he “wanted a better future.”

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