FOLLOWUP: Where the investigation of Derek Juarez-Lopez’s murder at Westcrest Park stands after 8 days; services, vigil set

(UPDATED THURSDAY MORNING with details on services, vigil)

7:14 PM: Eight days have passed since 15-year-old Derek “Peachy” Juarez-Lopez was stabbed to death at Westcrest Park, the day before he was to start his sophomore year at Chief Sealth International High School. Police have said they believe the motive was robbery, but there’s no word of an arrest, nor even a suspect description, so far. When we asked this week for an update, their official statement remained that it is an “active and ongoing investigation.” We also asked Southwest Precinct commander Capt. Pierre Davis to elaborate on how the park is being handled; he replied, “We have stepped up our patrol presence in that area, not only because of the recent tragedy, but also to curtail the property crime issues and other nefarious activity that we’ve experienced there.”

The memorial service for the victim, meantime, is planned for Sunday night, 6 pm, in Columbia City, according to the Sealth school bulletin, which does not specify the location but does say a campus vigil to celebrate his life is also being planned, date TBA. And the crowdfunding drive to help his family has passed its initial goal; its organizers, Sealth staffers who have worked with Derek and his family, have updated the page to say that Derek’s family wants “to personally thank everyone for the incredible outpouring of love that they have felt over the past week.” They added, “As community youth workers, we thank you also for the beautiful love that you have shown them.”

ADDED 7:11 AM THURSDAY: Just received from Sealth principal Aida Fraser-Hammer:

There will be a vigil this Friday, 9/15/17 in commemoration of the short life of Chief Sealth sophomore Derek Juarez-Lopez who was murdered by an unknown assailant on September 5th. The vigil will be held at 6:00 PM in front of the auditorium. Everyone is invited to come out in support of the family and students who now mourn the sudden and tragic loss of this thoughtful and considerate young man.

In addition, the family has announced that they will host a memorial service in Derek’s honor on Sunday, 9/17/17 from 4:00 to 5:00 at Columbia Funeral Home at 4567 Rainier Ave South. There will also be a public viewing on Saturday from 10:00 to 8:00 at the same funeral home.

8 Replies to "FOLLOWUP: Where the investigation of Derek Juarez-Lopez's murder at Westcrest Park stands after 8 days; services, vigil set"

  • Alki Resident September 13, 2017 (8:05 pm)

    I’m so very proud of our community for generously donating to this family. The financial burden of a funeral is too much when you’re a single parent. God Bless this family and pray for our detectives who need to locate this murderer.

  • JW September 13, 2017 (8:59 pm)

    Absolutely heartbreaking.

  • Curate September 13, 2017 (9:12 pm)

    Yes, completely agree. I think of this family every day and cannot imagine their pain. I hope they will eventually find closure. When a loved one suffers a sudden, violent death, the trauma can be nearly debilitating. 

  • Mark September 13, 2017 (10:29 pm)

    A handsome kid, its heartbreaking his life was taken.  I hope they get the perp and put him or her behind bars for a very long time.

  • Mike September 13, 2017 (11:30 pm)

    I cannot even imagine what his family and friends are going through.  I hope that eventually the police do find who did this.  It frightens me that somebody so willing to steal would do such things to a kid.  Although it’s not going to bring him back, I hope that the donations everyone made to help his family with costs brings them some happiness.  Everyone needs to give their loved ones a hug every day.

  • Marie Figgins September 14, 2017 (10:41 am)

    So glad the family is being supported after such a horrible tragedy. It’s the community park and hate and evil has no place there! Thank you SPD for responding. Also I am curious was his shoes taken from him? There have been some crimes where kids were beaten and shoes stolen. 6 total that I know of in the Seattle area. Perhaps they are connected? 

  • Westcrest Watcher September 16, 2017 (3:19 pm)

    Was just at the Westcrest dog park and saw a pack of teens (with no dogs) heading into the woods. There is definitely some suspicious activity going on here. Hopefully police are on the lookout. Very sad.

    • Gyngersnap September 16, 2017 (3:56 pm)

      Call 911? It can’t hurt.

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