For nearly two weeks, the family of 16-year-old Lee Viloria-Paulino searched tirelessly. But Thursday, his body was found decapitated along the Merrimack River in Lawrence, Massachusetts.
"We had people in almost every state looking for him," his mother, Katiuska Paulino, said.
And they say they pleaded with police to do the same.
"I just knew that Lee didn't have any friends, or any close friends, near here, or that he would have run away to nowhere," Paulino explained.
"We were, in fact, working this case diligently," said Lawrence Police Chief James Fitzpatrick said.
Initially, Fitzpatrick says, police did believe Viloria-Paulino ran away.
"Some of the circumstances that were presented to us at the beginning did, in fact, lead it in that direction," Fitzpatrick said.
He says that information in the beginning was a tip that Paulino had been sighted – it turned out to be false.
"As time went by, we grew more concerned," he said.
Ten days after Paulino was reported missing, the district attorney's office and state police joined the investigation.
"To the mayor, to the chief of police, to every police officer and detective," Paulino said, "If it was their kid, would they have waited two weeks to look for them?"
The teen's head was found in a separate location from his body. His hands had also been cut off.
It's not clear when he was killed, but surveillance video showed him and his alleged killer, 15-year-old Mathew Borges, walking together toward the river the night he disappeared.
That was the last time anyone has said they saw him alive.