Teen Charged in 15-Year-Old Girl's Death

A teenage boy denied murder and other counts Friday stemming from the shooting death of a 15-year-old girl whose body was found on the grounds of a business in Compton, authorities said Friday.

The 15-year-old boy is charged with one count each of murder and assault with a semi-automatic firearm and two counts of dissuading a witness by force or threat, according to Greg Risling of the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office.

Risling said he could not discuss if a case was filed against a second 15-year-old boy arrested by Los Angeles County sheriff's detectives following the discovery of Samantha Bustos' body

Bustos -- who lived in an unincorporated area near Gardena -- was found dead about 1:25 a.m. March 25 in the 500 block of Victoria Street, according to the sheriff's department.

An autopsy revealed Samantha had suffered a gunshot to her upper body, according to the sheriff's department.

Officials had said earlier that the girl "sustained traumatic injury" to her upper body and the coroner's office ruled the death a homicide, but the cause was withheld and there has still been no word on the motive for the killing.

On Saturday, detectives detained a 15-year-old boy who was allegedly present at the time Samantha was killed, sheriff's officials said, adding that the boy was "involved in the events following the death."

"Detectives interviewed the subject, confirmed his involvement in the incident and subsequently booked him for murder," according to a sheriff's department statement.

On Tuesday, detectives learned of an additional suspect, also a 15-year-old boy, and went to his home in the 1200 block of South Central Avenue to detain him. The teen fled, but was located on a nearby rooftop and surrendered soon after, officials said.

"During questioning, the subject implicated himself in the shooting death of victim Bustos and was subsequently booked for murder," according to the sheriff's department.

The victim's mother, Blanca Bautista, has said her daughter claimed she was going to a sleepover with her best friend, but went to a party instead.

Before her body was found face-down in some bushes by a passer-by, Samantha had last been seen March 22 in Compton, Blanca Bautista said.

Family members reported her missing two days later, according to the sheriff's department.

The girl was a sophomore at the Watts campus of New Designs Charter School, where counselors were made available following her death.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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