West Hartford

Family Remembers West Hartford Teen Amid Death Investigation

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Angel Jaquez is remembering his son Johnny Benjamin-Adams who had gone missing in West Virginia about a week ago.

“He was a wonderful, happy, person, you know, with a contagious smile,” said Jaquez. “Within my heart, the second day of his disappearance I knew he was no longer with us. I think God prepared me somehow.”

Investigators announced on Saturday they found human remains – which they believe to be the 14-year-old’s - in a shallow grave near where he was reported missing.

Police say a 16-year-old relative has been arrested and charged with burglary.

Authorities also revealed a suspect had been developed in Johnny’s death.

“There’s a lot of unanswered questions,” said Jaquez.

When the coronavirus initially hit, Johnny had left his home in West Hartford to spend time on a family farm in Augusta, West Virginia.

His family thought he’d be safer there, hanging out with his cousins as he finished school online.

Johnny had most recently been a student at King Philip Middle School. And he was getting ready to start high school in the fall.

In a statement, West Hartford superintendent Tom Moore wrote:

“The entire West Hartford Public Schools family is devastated by the loss of one of our children. Everyone who had the good fortune to know Johnny at King Philip will miss him dearly.”

The family is thankful for the support of the community and the extensive work of searchers in West Virginia.

On Sunday they gathered to remember the teen’s love of sports and travel, to simple things like how Jaquez would take his son to a store for bagels every Sunday.

“The ladies over there keep asking me, ‘Where is the boy? When is he coming back from West Virginia?’ And I was just thinking about that. I have to go back and visit her and notify her he is no longer with us,” said Jaquez.

“All of those memories are there. That’s what I tell the family, you know. Keep that smile and keep those memories with you.”

Eventually the family hopes to honor Johnny by setting up an organization that will benefit other kids.

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