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Family members: Teen's death was not an accident

By Vanessa de la Viña, vanessa@kvia.com
Published On: Feb 19 2013 06:21:39 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 14 2014 10:17:46 PM CST
Omar Sanchez

New Mexico State Police say Omar Sanchez, 19, was found dead at Caballo Lake.

LAS CRUCES, N.M. -

A Las Cruces family is searching for answers after Omar Sanchez, 19, was found dead at Caballo Lake. Family members told ABC-7 they think Sanchez's death may not have been an accident.

Sanchez's parents should have been celebrating their wedding anniversary on Tuesday. Instead, they are planning the funeral for their 19-year-old son.

Family members said they just want to know what happened out at Caballo Lake.

"I just don't see why someone would kill him. I don't see why. All you had to do was walk up to him and see that smile and you knew your day was that much better," Sanchez's cousin Christopher Ybarra told ABC-7.

Sanchez's cousin John Gist said he talked to Sanchez on Thursday, just three days before New Mexico State Police found his body at the bottom of Caballo Lake.

"We were always together, always hanging out. It's just a mystery what happened to him. I told him, 'Be careful, just be careful.' The next day we were all out there looking for him," Gist said.

Family members said Sanchez was camping at the lake with one of his cousins and a friend. They said Sanchez got up to use the restroom around 3 a.m. on Saturday and never came back.

"We were out there Saturday until early morning Sunday. All of us were out there in the mountains. It was cold. I can just imagine how cold that water was and for him just to run out there in the water doesn't sound right," Gist said.

Gist said police found Sanchez's jacket hundreds of feet from where he was camping.

"For them just to find his jacket offshore and find him later is not adding up," said Gist.

Family members said all they can do now is wait for answers.

"You would barely meet him and you already know he's a good guy. I can still see him right now, smiling, laughing. I just don't understand why somebody would do that. Something like this just doesn't seem right at all. I just want to know why. I just need answers," Ybarra said.

State police are investigating and told ABC-7 they're waiting on autopsy results to determine how Sanchez died.

Sanchez graduated from Mayfield High School in 2012. Family members said he was studying to be a dentist at New Mexico State University.

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