The body of 18-year-old Alexis Marron was discovered in the trunk of a burned out car in central Mexico. He was there to visit his grandmother and other family members over the weekend.
Marron was reportedly on the road with two other friends. They had left his grandmother's home to bring a gift to a female friend. Mexican authorities say all three bodies were found completely charred in the vehicle's trunk. Investigators say the car was set fire on Christmas Eve morning in a small town about 80 miles south east of Guadalajara in the Mexican state of Michoacan.
U.S. embassy officials in Mexico are reportedly investigating. Mexican consulate officials in Chicago are on stand-by.
"We are still waiting to hear from the pending investigation in Mexico...we are of course open to providing assistance that the family might need," said Agustin Rodriguez, deputy consul general of Mexico.
Marron was a senior at Rolling Meadows High School where he was involved in athletics.
Joel Muneton organized an impromptu memorial at a Mount Prospect apartment complex Tuesday evening so friends would have a place to mourn. Friends offered prayers, talked about Marron and comforted each other.
"He was not a sad person, he always had a smile on his face," said Muneton.
"He was just a sweet guy...always tried to make you people feel better," said Miriam Castro, friend.
"He obviously didn't deserve it. He was in the wrong place, wrong time...everybody loves him," said Fabian Fraire, friend.
"The way he died...no remorse, no mercy, they didn't know who he was or who they took away from us," said Cynthia Marron, cousin.
Another cousin, Danila Zendejas, told ABC7 that the teenager was like a brother to her. They lived in the same apartment complex.
"He loved his nieces. And he didn't have time to get to one of them, to see her grow," said Zendejas in tears.
Marron has a number of family members in the northwest suburbs. He lived in Rolling Meadows in an apartment complex with his parents and brother. His immediate family is en route to Mexico.