Police ask for help in child murder case
November 16, 1998
OCEANSIDE, California (CNN) -- Police in this town 40 miles north of San Diego are reaching out to the public for help in finding the teen-age suspect in the murder of a California boy whose throat was slashed Saturday in a public restroom.
The suspect was described by the victim's aunt as a white male, 15 to 17 years old, sandy brown hair, wearing blue jeans and a gray plaid sweatshirt. As police continued to search for the suspect, a composite sketch was being prepared Monday, according to police spokeswoman Jennifer Cundiff.
The 9-year-old victim, Matthew Cecchi, had been attending a family reunion at a paid camping area at the beach at Oceanside Harbor. His aunt escorted him to the public toilet, just steps away from his family campsite, said Sgt. Tom Bussey of the Oceanside Police Department.
As the aunt waited outside, she saw the teen-ager enter the restroom, according to police. A few minutes later the teen-ager came out, and the aunt became worried about her nephew.
She told police she went into the men's room and found Matthew on the floor, bleeding from an ear-to-ear slash across his throat.
Sgt. Tom Aguigui said the aunt and several bystanders tried unsuccessfully to revive the boy and stop the bleeding, but he died at the scene.
Cundiff said investigators have no motive for the killing and no weapon. Police are awaiting test results on blood, fingerprints, hairs and fibers found at the scene.
The boy's father, Louis Cecchi, suffers from leukemia and did not attend the reunion. He was notified of his son's death by an uncle of the victim.
"He was my best friend," Cecchi said about Matthew from his home in Oroville. "He actually was my best friend."
Cecchi described his young son as an A student and a big baseball fan. Ironically, Cecchi and his wife Sharon moved from Anaheim to the small California town of Oroville 10 years ago to escape urban problems.
Cecchi said they wanted "to get away from the crime, the congestion, the pollution -- so we could give our kids a better life."
Now, as the police search for Matthew's killer, the Cecchis must explain Matthew's death to his 3-year-old brother.
Reuters contributed to this report.
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