Texas

Police: Teenage murder suspect and victim met through app selling drugs

AUSTIN (KXAN) — An 18-year-old charged with capital murder in connection with the death of another 18-year-old met the victim through a phone app, according to an arrest warrant filed Friday.

In October, police found Andrew Johnson shot to death in a wrecked car outside a McDonald’s near Mopac around RM2,222 in West Austin.

An affidavit for the arrest of his alleged killer, Zavien Castilleja, says they contacted through the Telegram app that Johnson used to sell marijuana. Phone records showed Castilleja talking about Johnson’s robbery.

“He got involved with some bad people, they took advantage of him, and he ended up dying,” said Ryan Dorer, whose son was a close friend of Johnson. “Everyone loved Andrew. He was very popular, he was a very sweet and generous kid, he was always trying to do something for his friends.”

Sergeant Cody Long of the Hutto Police Department is not handling the case, but said app drug sales are stalking police throughout central Texas.

“Especially when it comes to teenagers, they become victims of more serious offenses, more violent crimes,” he said. “These bad actors are betting that parents don’t know what their kids are doing or who they’re doing it with.”

This kind of in-app activity can also create a quandary for parents.

“First, you want to observe a teenager more, and then move on to less supervision depending on how they handle each level of independence,” said Mandy Melendez, owner of Family Parenting Counseling.

Dorer added: “When they’re 17.18, it’s hard to know what’s on their phones and what they’re doing, so you have to communicate with them.”

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