Murder victim found along rural road identified as Mexican teen from Charlotte

A murder victim found alongside a road Saturday south of Hickory has been identified as a teenager, said the Catawba County Sheriff’s Office.

Investigators say the dead man is 19-year-old Marco Antonio Pablo Eleocadio. The Observer’s news partner WBTV is reporting the teen was from Charlotte.

The body was found Saturday morning on River Road, off U.S. 321. Catawba County Sheriff’s Department officials have not given details on how Eleocadio died, only that it is a homicide case.

Charlotte Spanish-language newspaper Hola Noticias said the victim was originally from Coatetelco in the Mexican state of Morelos. He came to the United States three years ago and worked in lawn maintenance, it reported.

Sources told Hola Noticias that Eleocadio went to work last Friday and vanished. The newspaper says a friend of Eleocadio named Luis Antonio Garcia de los Santos, 28, has also vanished.

Investigators said last weekend that a nearby homeowner spotted the body off the side of the road near a wooded area, at 9:15 a.m. The face of the body was bruised and swollen.

The Hickory Daily Record reported the homeowner initially thought the man had suffered from a heart attack. Grass cuttings were also found in the man’s pants legs and boots, leading investigators to believe the man did yard work, the Daily Record reported.

Investigators are trying to determine whether Elocedio’s body was dumped at the scene, WBTV reported.