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Family grieves, police look for Forest Park renters

By Daniel Silliman

dsilliman@news-daily.com

Two days after her 18-year-old son was shot twice in the chest and dumped in the woods near a north-Clayton baseball field, Sandra Sanchez collapsed.

She had made funeral arrangements, talked to a Forest Park Police detective about her son, Raymond Sanchez, Jr., and was grieving with her family.

She agreed to talk to reporters Friday afternoon, but, then, everything overwhelmed her, and she collapsed in the front of her Morrow home, family members said.

"This is awful," said Brenda Pritchett, Sandra's mother and Raymond's grandmother.

Her voice broke, and she started again. "This is awful. Raymond was one of the best kids you could ask for -- until he turned 17. He was a fine boy. He got with the wrong crowd, a bunch of idiots, and that's what cost him his life. And now, it may cost his mother her life."

Paramedics were treating Sandra Sanchez, Friday evening, and Forest Park's Detective Sgt. Isaac Fisher was contuining the investigation into Raymond Sanchez, Jr.'s death.

Sixty-two hours after the young Sanchez was shot in the chest, and 53 hours after his body was found on Gilbert Road by a groundskeeper Wednesday morning, the investigation focused on four Forest Park residents, believed to live in a house at 4510 Old Jonesboro Road.

At 1:36 a.m., Wednesday, Forest Park police received a 911 call reporting shots fired at that residence. At the scene where the 18-year-old's body was found, two miles away, Clayton County Police Department detectives received information that Sanchez was last been seen at the Old Jonesboro Road address.

When the county and city police arrived at the residence Wednesday, they found blood in the driveway and no one was home, Fisher said. "The residence was empty and there were no signs of any vehicles," the detective said. "They left in a hurry. At this point, that's all we know... "

Police are looking for the four people who were renting the house: 27-year-old Abel Nava-Uribe; Alejandro Figueroa Benitez, 26; Rogelio Figueroa, 35, and Maria Melendez Flores, 27.

The four may be traveling in a blue, 1986 GMC pickup truck, with the Ga. license plate number AXF-5476.

Anyone who sees the vehicle, or knows where Uribe, Benitez, Figueroa and Flores may be headed is asked to call police at (404) 366-4141.

"We need to talk to them," Fisher said.

Three of the residents have no criminal record. Figueroa has been previously arrested, but it was for non-violent offenses, such as driving without a license, Fisher said.

The police had "nothing concrete" pointing toward a motive for the shooting, Friday night. Though family members have said he "got with the wrong crowd," and some news reports have cited a drug-related motive, Fisher said that is all still under investigation.

Pritchett said the family was struggling to understand the reason or reasons for the act that ended Raymond Sanchez, Jr.'s life.

"He was with the wrong crowd, but he wasn't a fighter," the grandmother said. "He wasn't violent. Who would do this to him?"