UPDATED 12/27/11 4:51 p.m.
IXTLÁN DE LOS HERVORES, Michoacán, Mexico (CBS) — The badly burned body of a high school student from Rolling Meadows was found inside a charred vehicle in Mexico over the weekend, along with the bodies of two other murder victims.
Alexis Uriel Marrón, 18, and two other men were found in the trunk of a burned out car around 7 a.m. on Christmas Eve, on a roadside in the town of Ixtlán de los Hervores, in the Mexican province of Michoacán about 80 miles southeast of Guadalajara.
As CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole reports, Marrón, a senior at Rolling Meadows High School, had been visiting his grandmother in the small town of Quiringüicharo for Christmas break.
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Bob Roberts reports
By all accounts, Marrón was an upstanding teenager. Family members said two friends were driving him to visit a girlfriend when all three young men were killed.
The deaths were horrific, three bodies stuffed in the trunk of a car on a vacant country road and torched. Marrón’s family said all three victims were responsible young men and they were struggling to understand why someone would kill them.
Marrón’s cousin, Daniella Zendejas, said, “He was a very nice kid. He didn’t do anything to anybody.”
Zendejas said Marrón traveled by himself to visit his grandmother in the small mountain town of Quiringuicharo, east of Guadalajara, for the Christmas holidays. A football player and gymnast at Rolling Meadows High School, Marrón’s parents and sister traveled to Mexico on Christmas Eve to arrange his wake.
“We think that they were robbed and they didn’t want to give up their stuff, so that’s why they do that to them,” Zendejas said.
Marrón’s friend, Luis Arroyo, said, “He didn’t deserve to pass away.”
To cope, Arroyo posted a video tribute to his buddy. He said Marrón was reliable, always smiling and never in trouble.
“I was showing my respect to him. … I’m always going to keep you in my heart, like, you know, I’m never going to forget you, how a good person you are and everything,” Arroyo said.
Hundreds of classmates were mourning and connecting through Facebook. They also plan a memorial for Marrón at his locker when school resumes next Tuesday.
Classmate Brandon Leo said, “I want people to know that he was a good kid, he was honest with everyone, you know, always had that smile
“He was one of the nicest guys I ever met,” classmate Kyle Gentile said. “He was soft spoken, modest, always just the nicest guy he could have been.”
Mexican authorities have yet to make any arrests in the case, which has Marrón’s family wondering if they will have the strength to ever visit their homeland again.
“I could say I am scared to go right now,” Zendejas said. “It’s very dangerous over there.”
The U.S. State Department said the American Embassy in Mexico City is working to get more information on Marrón’s death.
The Mexican Consulate in Chicago is also ready to respond to any petitions from the family if they reach out.
In the meantime, classmates were planning to wear red in Marrón’s honor next Tuesday at Rolling Meadows High School.