17-Year-Old Strangled To Death By Peers And You May Be Shocked By His Parents Reaction

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shutterstock_84142081__1394646474_142.196.167.223Last Saturday, the body of 17-year-old Ivan Mejia was found in a creek northeast of Dallas, Texas. One of his classmates had put him in choke hold while the other stuffed a sock in his mouth and pinched his nose. The two deprived him of air long enough to kill him. Prosecutors say the teens had planned the murder for nearly a week, and it was allegedly over a dispute about a girl. When they were caught, they admitted to trying to bury the body. Mejia’s parents said that they forgive the teens. These people are better than me.

Anita and Flavio Mejia expressed their forgiveness in a statement to the press yesterday. Their Christian faith moves them to have no ill will toward the accused. They say they look forward to seeing their child in heaven.

I can see how not harboring hate in your heart is ultimately better for you. I can’t imagine what these parents are going through. Thinking about this boy dying that way makes my heart bleed. Thinking about the two boys watching him take his last breath then dumping his body in a creek makes my stomach turn. I don’t forgive these kids – and this child wasn’t mine. I don’t think I could ever forgive these kids. I think forgiveness is noble, but I also think there is nothing wrong with expecting people to not be vile and murderous while we are all sharing this planet together.

The parents also expressed forgiveness to the parents of the accused teens, saying that they know what the other families are going through. I imagine they are right. I’m sure the other parents are devastated that their children are accused murderers.

These parents clearly have a strong faith that is carrying them through this horrific ordeal. Although I can’t understand it – I think these people are just better humans than I am. I don’t think I have the capacity to forgive something so heinous.

(photo: Diane Mower/ Shutterstock)


  1. Katherine Handcock

    March 12, 2014 at 2:18 pm

    Only the people who were personally touched by a crime can (or have the right to) forgive it. I can’t imagine forgiving it either; fortunately, it’s not my place to do so. I hope that these parents find peace in their forgiveness. I know the thoughts of parents around the world will be with them.

  2. TwentiSomething Mom

    March 12, 2014 at 2:19 pm

    I’m sure its easier said than done. Even though they say they forgive them and their parents, I’m sure they struggle with feelings of anger and resentment and even questioning God as to why this happened. I commend them for their stance because going through life in that way will not make the world a better place.

    • Taxes Make Kittens Cry

      March 12, 2014 at 2:22 pm

      I thought the same thing. They “simply” released a statement to the media, that I’m sure their priest/pastor helped write. Who knows what they’re really feeling inside.

      So… who’s this TRAMP?

  3. arrow2010

    March 12, 2014 at 2:41 pm


    • janey

      March 12, 2014 at 3:13 pm


  4. Rachel Sea

    March 12, 2014 at 3:22 pm

    Feeling angry and hateful can be exhausting. Forgiving someone who has done something horrific to you can be very healing.

    • Angela

      March 12, 2014 at 4:13 pm

      Agreed. To some people forgiveness means pretending like it never happened and totally absolving the people responsible which is absurd. To others it’s letting go of your anger and moving on. That can be both admirable and therapeutic, but I just don’t see it as realistic less than a week out. Anger is part of the grieving process. You can’t move on until you’ve accepted it and dealt with it. I suspect that this family either is in denial which would be understandable, but I’ve also known some religious groups to demand instant forgiveness of it’s members which I find completely unrealistic and unhelpful. It also cheapens the value of the genuine forgiveness when you discount the years of anguish and hard work most people endure to get there.

    • Rachel Sea

      March 13, 2014 at 1:39 pm

      The grieving process is not linear. Most people move back and forth through the stages as needed over the course of days and years. Forgiveness is the same. Some can let go once and be done, most will feel entirely forgiving one day, and still feel hateful another. Just because it’s only been a week doesn’t mean they don’t forgive, it just means that it will probably be a continuing process.

  5. Kelly

    March 12, 2014 at 3:25 pm

    I don’t think they’re better people for forgiving monsters. They’re weak idiots brainwashed by their religion into believing they must forgive instead of dealing with the real grief of the horrific crime they’ve experienced as far as I’m concerned. This wasn’t an oops mistake. These teens weren’t driving drunk. They’re absolute monsters who should be put down to protect society. They don’t deserve forgiveness. They certainly don’t want it or care about it. Predators like that laugh at the people who forgive them. They aren’t sorry. The kids are probably laughing like hell at their victim’s parents over this.

    • arrow2010

      March 12, 2014 at 3:32 pm

      In the big scheme of things, irrelevant people. They aren’t the trend setters, the innovators. Just simplistic sheeple duped by religion.

    • Justme

      March 12, 2014 at 8:40 pm

      You can forgive someone even if they aren’t sorry. You can forgive someone and never speak to them again in your life. It’s not about the predator, it’s about the victims.

  6. Iwill Findu

    March 12, 2014 at 3:51 pm

    People always think forgiveness is about the other person. Forgiveness does not mean you`re going to friends with the people that wronged you. Forgiveness means you`re not going to hold on to the bitterness and let it rot you from the inside out killing any happiness you might otherwise experience. Forgiveness also does not mean they aren`t grieving the loss of their son, it means they`re trying their best to not let something horrible destroy their lives. You`re molded by the emotions you hold on to those boys were molded by hate, and jealousy, the victims parents are molded by peace. Really it comes down to who would you rather be like the accused teens or the victims parents.

    • Katherine Handcock

      March 13, 2014 at 5:33 pm

      Beautifully said.

  7. K.

    March 12, 2014 at 4:30 pm

    As the saying goes:

    “Forgive others not because they deserve forgiveness, but because you deserve peace.”

  8. jendra_berri

    March 12, 2014 at 4:38 pm

    I recall reading an article on Slate about forgiveness, and how it’s expected too much these days, how certain things are unforgivable, such as rape and murder. You don’t have to walk around with anger in your heart every moment, but you also should never feel like you have to zip through natural emotions or pretend they’re not there, or feel bad about having them indefinitely.
    Forgiveness means you don’t even hold resentment. It’s not just something you say, it’s not just a decision. It’s a real emotional experience of no longer feeling negative towards someone who has wronged you. I think it’s 100% acceptable to hold lifelong resentment towards your child’s murders, so long as you don’t allow those feelings to interfere with the rest of your life.
    I dunno, I don’t put high moral value on this breakneck speed forgiveness. From where I’m sitting, it devalues the grieving process and the loss of life. It also devalues the real work forgiveness of grave wrongdoing takes when it’s presented so soon.
    He was their son, and they’ll deal with the loss as they see fit. But I question these public declarations of forgiveness. They never sit well with me. I think they contribute too much to this new cultural expectation to forgive, forgive, forgive. People are pressured these days to forgive ahead of their own timeline.
    Honestly… I don’t believe them, anyway. You can choose to forgive and try to get there. Maybe that’s what they really mean. But real forgiveness is the end result of an emotional process. It’s not normal to lose someone you love, from a murder no less, and then quickly harbour no ill will, no resentment towards the murderers.

    • Harriet Meadow

      March 12, 2014 at 5:56 pm

      I agree with you 1,000%. Only you said it MUCH better than I ever could.

    • JLH1986

      March 13, 2014 at 9:01 am

      Plus it makes it hard for people to understand how when another person is wronged and that person CAN’T forgive or it takes time seem like he is being difficult. Forgiveness is different for everyone.

  9. Williwaw

    March 12, 2014 at 5:52 pm

    I don’t think I could ever forgive someone who maliciously killed one of my loved ones, especially my child, and I don’t think that people who do so are any better than those who don’t. I get that it is probably psychologically healthier to eventually move to an emotional state where you are not constantly consumed by rage and bitterness and grief, but that doesn’t mean you have to forgive, either. It just means you have to work through grieving and get on with your life, somehow. Also, I think the instant forgiveness thing is a bit ridiculous, and I wonder if the people who proclaim their instant forgiveness of their child’s murderer really feel it in their hearts or if they are just parroting what their religion wants them to say.

    As an atheist, I respect religious people’s choices and hope that their faith gives them strength in situations like this, but I cannot fathom forgiving the murderer of my child – the person who callously stole their entire future, their one chance in all eternity to enjoy life, to love, laugh, and enjoy the wonders of the universe. A murderer takes everything a person is and everything they ever might have been. That is not forgivable.

  10. Justme

    March 12, 2014 at 8:39 pm

    Forgiveness is not about the approval of the other person. It’s about saying to yourself, “I refuse to allow this person or these events to define and affect my everyday life.” I also think that forgiveness is a path, not a destination – so perhaps these people aren’t saying that everything is okay, but instead they recognize that forgiveness is just the tip of the iceberg that is their path to healing.

    • JLH1986

      March 13, 2014 at 9:04 am

      Forgiveness is about allowing yourself to heal. To hold on to anger, resentment, hurt, frustration about another person is like swallowing person and expecting that person to die. Letting that fester in themselves is only going to make their lives more difficult, it will in no way impact those kids who killed him. I can understand this intellectually, however, I don’t know if I could ever actually forgive someone from taking a loved one from me.

    • Guest

      March 13, 2014 at 10:40 am

      This is exactly how I feel. I’ve forgiven others and felt the burden of hate lifted from my shoulders…but if it was my kid I think I’d probably feel compelled to hate these others for the rest of my life.

  11. Kelly

    March 12, 2014 at 9:18 pm

    Never would forgive this. Ever. Move on? Yes, I would try. But no, sorry not sorry. You kill my kid. You are on my shit list forever.

  12. 21foot house

    March 12, 2014 at 11:19 pm

    I always find stories like this brings up things that I am still confused about. I have lost two people to violent murders. My uncle, who was shot in his home by someone who was never caught, and my friend, who was strangled to death… by my other friend, who is now serving time for second degree murder.

    It has been several years since each murder, and to this day I still am not 100% sure how I feel about either of them. I was nineteen when my friend killed my other friend. I remember screaming, and I know I cried, and I know I went into shock with all the cold and shaking symptoms etc. The following weeks were hard. I’d burst into tears at the drop of a pin, but the worst thing was the internal conflict and that continues to this day. My friend was dead, but the man who killed her was my friend. And those two things were so horrifically incompatible. He hurt so many people when he took her from us. But now he has to live with that. I hated him for what he had done, and yet I felt sorry for him and who he had been before he was this “thing” that he had become to all of us a “murderer”. We all knew he had a temper, but we never imagined he would kill.
    So I guess what I am trying to get at is when something like this happens, it’s not easy to describe your feelings towards it. I still don’t know how to describe how I feel about it and it’s been seven years. All I know is that when I think about it too long I feel tired trying to puzzle my way through the emotions I have. I can only imagine that this couple and all others in their place feel something similar. Life doesn’t really prepare us for this kind of situation and since I haven’t been able to find it I don’t think there is a word to describe how it makes a person feel. It’s not tangible enough to have a word, but it’s this nagging thing that is always there. “Forgiveness” may be the closest thing they can think to say when there are no real words to describe what comes after the initial grief and anger when you’ve lost someone in such a way. It’s a weird sort of heaviness that never goes away, but life goes on despite it, and if they can give their feelings a name, even if it isn’t to the definition that the dictionary might give the word, then let them name it forgiveness is they want. I wish I could find a name that suited mine.

  13. AlbinoWino

    March 13, 2014 at 12:01 am

    More power to them but I do believe this can come bite you in the ass later in life. My brother was murdered and in some ways I’m happy his killer is dead after offing himself. When I was younger I wanted to seem righteous and said I forgave him but years down the line I really figured out I didn’t. My brother is on my mind everyday and his killer isn’t as often. I think of the killer’s family and while I know they suffered, I truthfully feel they are ass holes. If I were them I would have probably offed myself from the shame of it all and knowing I brought that kind of evil into the world. I would hate myself. I am not ever going to seek out revenge or feel nothing but hate. But sure, I had to realize that it was ok to feel anger along with sorrow. It’s normal. I feel it when I see people my age with their siblings hanging out and I feel left out for missing the comradery of adult siblings. I’ve seen people who let it become the most hateful and bitter people and I am definitely no that. But sure, as a non-religious person I don’t believe I will ever see my brother again. Perhaps if I were religious it would be easier but that’s simply not who I am.

  14. gothicgaelicgirl

    March 13, 2014 at 1:49 pm

    I don’t think I could ever forgive anyone who harmed a child of mine..

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