With no witnesses to help solve the mystery of what led to a young man’s death in a remote area in Miami-Dade last month, his parents pleaded for the public’s help Friday morning.
Christian Joseph McKenzie, 21, was found dead from gunshot wounds in his upper torso -- several miles from where his abandoned truck was found.
“He was a very kind and loving and caring child who worked very hard...,” said his tearful mother Adena McKenzie, seated alongside McKenzie’s father Arthur, at a press conference at the Miami-Dade Police Department Friday morning. “It’s the first Christmas without him. It’s devastating -- as a mom it’s unbearable.”
McKenzie, a graduate of South Dade Senior High, lived with his parents in the Redlands area. He worked for his father’s construction firm, McKenzie Construction, and also as a server for events at a Marriott, his father said. At about 9 a.m. on Nov. 14, he left his home in his 1993 Toyota truck and told his father that he would be right back. McKenzie was expected to work that night at the Marriott so when he didn’t return later that day, his dad reported him missing. At about 9 p.m. Nov. 14th, Police found his truck abandoned on the swale at Southwest 232 Street and 187 Avenue. There was no sign of blood or firearms in the truck, said Det. Richard Raphael.
McKenzie’s body was found shortly before 9 a.m. Nov. 15th at Southwest 408th Street and 232 Ave -- about 15 to 20 miles away from the truck. McKenzie’s body was found in a remote area along a canal bank.
Raphael said that he believes McKenzie drove to the remote location to meet someone.
“It’s a very desolate area,” that is used by youngsters to hunt and use firearms, Raphael said. McKenzie had a concealed weapons permit but did not have a gun on him when he was found. Raphael would not say how many times McKenzie was shot but said there was no sign of a struggle. Police have not ruled an accidental death and have not ruled it a murder.
In a separate case in early September, Miami-Dade police found an 18-year-old male in a canal in the Everglades. The family of Jesus Trejo called police to report him missing. His car was found abandoned at Southwest 392nd Street and 232nd Avenue.
McKenzie had been separated from his wife for about a year, according to his father. Police said that they had not yet interviewed his wife.
Miami-Dade court records show two separate 2011 misdemeanor charges that were ultimately dropped. In one case he was charged with misdemeanor loitering and in the other he was charged with possessing a small amount of marijuana --- that charge was dropped when he agreed to enter pre-trial diversion.
Anyone with information is asked to call Raphael at 305-471-2400 or Crimestoppers at 305-471-8477.