BRENTWOOD, Long Island - Family and friends of one of the young men found buried in the woods in Nassau County gathered Wednesday to remember him.
The body of 15-year-old Javier Castillo was discovered last month buried in Cow Meadow Park in Freeport. The FBI officially identified the remains Tuesday. Castillo disappeared October 13, 2016, after leaving his home in Central Islip.
Castillo's loved ones gathered at a Michael J. Grant Funeral Home in Brentwood to say their good-byes. They described the Central Islip High School student as dedicated to his studies, and they said his father never stopped looking for his missing son. Castillo's funeral will be held Thursday at St. John of God Church in Central Islip.
Eyewitness News spoke with the mother of another missing young man, whose remains were also identified Tuesday.
The FBI notified Lilian Oliva-Santos that the body found near the LIRR tracks in Freeport on October 27 is her missing son, 19-year-old Kerin Pineda.
Oliva-Santos said she always had maintained hope that her son was alive after he disappeared suddenly in May 2016.
She shared exclusively with Eyewitness News the Facebook conversation Pineda was having right before he disappeared. It was with a young woman whom Oliva-Santos believes was a gang member posing as a romantic interest. She thinks her son was lured to the park and killed.
Eyewitness News translated the conversation from Spanish:
7:59pm - Woman: I'm going to wait for you at the opening to the park
8:00pm - Kerin: Ok my love. I will tell you when I'm at the park
8:09pm - Woman: I'm here
8:11pm - Kerin: I'm here. Where are you?
The conversation ends abruptly, and there are no more messages.
The FBI has not yet said who murdered Castillo or Pineda, but it is believed their deaths came at the hands of gang members.