WYLIE -- The family of a Wylie East High School student murdered over the weekend spoke outside their home for the first time Tuesday.
Three days ago, Flavio and Anita Mejia lost their oldest son, but they seemed measured and calm speaking to News 8 Tuesday afternoon. They said they are comforted that their son, Ivan, is now with God.
"Our Ivan lived every moment of his life passionate for the Lord," Flavio said.
He read from a statement he’d written in his journal. He thanked friends and their church for support, but he did not mention the reason they needed it.
Officers testified that 17-year-old Ivan was choked to death Saturday by two 16-year-old classmates, Brenden Bridges and Adam Staup, on a road just behind Wylie East High School.
But the Mejia's did have a message for those boys' parents.
"They want to express their sentiments as well to the other families involved that they hold no grudges -- they actually express forgiveness, because they know what the other families are going through," said Benjamin Alicea, translating for the couple.
That forgiveness, again, comes from their beliefs. They say Ivan is with God and that’s giving them the strength to speak and honor the memory of their son.
"[There are] definitely tears, but a lot of joy at the same time, because they have faith, because of their hope, because they look forward to the moment of getting together again," Alicea said.
In an empty parking lot at Wylie East High School sits a stuffed teddy bear bearing the words “RIP Ivan." The campus is also empty, as students are still off on spring break. Classes will resume with three students missing Monday.
Court testimony confirms what most classmates have been telling News 8 reporters from the beginning, the motive may have been over a girl.
News 8 reached out to a classmate who knew both the suspects and the victim. Speaking under anonymity, the student said Bridges took an interest in Ivan’s girlfriend, but said no one thought it would go this far.
“He wanted her for himself, and I think he thought that if he could get rid of Ivan, he could have her,” the friend said.
“Not only [was his death] unexpected, but the circumstances - all of it - simply unexplainable,” Alicea said.
Alicea, a family friend and church pastor, said Ivan's death was a major loss for the community. He had planned to join the Marines.
“[Ivan] definitely was always willing to help and a leader in his own way,” he said.
And an online post from Ivan's girlfriend showed more plans for a life that was tragically cut short.
“I love a boy that was going to be my future and worked hard to be together for three years, and was taken from me so easily,” she wrote.
A viewing and memorial service for Ivan Mejia will be held Friday at First Baptist Church in Wylie from 3 to 7 p.m.