Family of teen last seen alive in Chicago's East Side continues to search for answers 15 years later

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Monday, July 18, 2022
New efforts to revive cold case of Chicago teen found dead 15 years ago
In 2007, Pineda has just dropped his girlfriend at work after school. He was supposed to head home from the bus stop at 108th and Ewing streets, but never made it.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The family of a Chicago teen who was murdered 15 years ago is trying new efforts to revive the cold case.

Cook County Crime Stoppers joined relatives of Christoper Pioneda Saturday in their push for closure.

Monday would have been Pineda's 33rd Birthday.

It may have been just over 15 years, but any family that has lost a love, in the way the Pineda family lost Christopher, there is no amount of time passing that will keep them from justice.

Pineda's family has stood at the East Side neighborhood intersection of 108th and Ewing streets multiple times, recalling the last place he was seen alive 15 years ago.

"We want to bring all the attention that he deserves to the case," said Monica Sanchez, Pineda's niece.

She was just a girl when her uncle went missing and later found murdered.

Now, Sanchez is all grown up but her uncle's case is still unsolved.

"They took my grandma's son, brother, uncle, friend, they took a lot from them," Sanchez said.

The family said they stand out at the intersection, passing out flyers with his face.

"It's still an open investigation, still looking for what happened. Why did it happen? What happened that day," said George McDade, chairman of the Cook County Crime Stoppers.

"It doesn't matter how much time passes, we're gonna keep pushing. There's generations after us that will keep pushing," Sanchez said.

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In 2007, Pineda, who was a Whitney Young Magnet School student at the time, had just dropped his girlfriend off at work after school. He was supposed to head home from the bus stop at 108th and Ewing streets, but never made it.

Instead, investigators found the then-17-year-old's body, badly beaten in the Cal-Sag Channel in south suburban Blue Island, a week after he went missing.

Even though years have passed, family stood out to honor a life that might have been not fully lived but was fully loved.

"I don't want to cry. I want to be strong for him and strong for the family, because my mom has stood up here in front of you guys crying the same thing asking for help. And I just want something to come of it," Sanchez said.

"We're dependent on the public. That's what's gonna get that piece of information that helps get the case out. It's not going to come from the public, if the police had it or something and arrests were made," McDade said.

Sanchez said each time they hold these events with family, friends, and even the detectives on his case, it's with the hope that even one tip to the police or anonymous call to Crime Stoppers, will bring not just justice but closure to this family.

Pineda, the son of Guatemalan immigrants, was set to be the first in his family to graduate from high school with set plans to go to college at the time.

Whitney Young Magnet High School honored Pineda's family by presenting his degree, posthumously.

"Now everyone after him that has graduated in his honor. They are like, 'This is for him; we did this for him,'" said Sanchez.