With no witnesses to help solve the mystery of what led to a young man’s death last month in a remote area in Miami-Dade, his parents pleaded for the public’s help Friday.
Christian Joseph McKenzie, 21, was found dead from gunshot wounds in his upper torso on Nov. 15 — 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, during a press conference at the Miami-Dade Police Department on 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.
Around 9 a.m., 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. When he didn’t return, his dad reported him missing. Police found his truck abandoned on a swale at Southwest 232nd Street and 187th Avenue. There was no sign of foul play in the truck, said Miami-Dade detective Richard Raphael.
McKenzie’s body was found the next day at Southwest 408th Street and 232nd Avenue — some 15 to 20 miles away from the truck — in a remote area along a canal bank. Raphael said that he believes McKenzie drove to the first location to meet someone.
“It’s a very desolate area,” 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 said there was no sign of a struggle and would not say how many times McKenzie was shot. At this point, police have not called it 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.
Anyone with information is asked to call Raphael at 305-471-2400 or Crimestoppers at 305-471-8477.