BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – A 13-year-old boy has been arrested and charged in the death of 13-year-old Ameer Al Shammari. Jean Sanchez was arrested overnight, and is charged as an adult. Police say he confessed to the crime.
Al Shammari disappeared Friday night. A man walking a dog found the boy’s body Saturday morning near an old golf park on Amherst Street.
Sanchez’s family was in court Tuesday morning, where he pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder charges through an interpreter and the public defender’s office. They walked out of court with their shirts over their faces after sobbing in the courtroom. If convicted, Sanchez faces a minimum of five years to life and a maximum of nine years to life behind bars.
Police say tips from the public helped leaded them to the arrest early Tuesday morning. Police did not release information on whether Sanchez and Al Shammari knew each other.
Al Shammari’s death may have had something to do with the theft of his iPhone, which family friends say his parents bought for him as a reward for doing well in school. Witnesses say they saw Ameer crying on Friday and say he may have tried to follow the thief or thieves.
Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown called the 13-year-old’s death a terrible tragedy. He said he thinks the entire community should hold the family up in prayer.
Ameer and his family moved to the United States from Iraq just 18 months ago.