Homestead - South Dade

Three arrested in killing of teen outside Homestead Job Corps center

Left to right: Kaheem Arbelo, Christian Colon and Jonathan Lucas.
Left to right: Kaheem Arbelo, Christian Colon and Jonathan Lucas. Photos courtesy of Pasco County Sheriff’s Office and Miami-Dade Corrections

Authorities have arrested three young men for the murder of 17-year-old Jose Amaya Guardado, who was found in July murdered and partially buried in a wooded area outside a Homestead dorm for at-risk youth.

Jonathan Lucas, 18, and Kaheem Arbelo, 20, were charged with second-degree murder late Thursday. A third teen, Christian Colon, 19, was arrested earlier this week in Pasco County.

The three, as well as Jose, were all students at Homestead Job Corps, the federally funded academic and vocational program in the 12300 block of Southwest 285th Street.

The teen victim was believed to have been hacked to death, according to law enforcement sources. The teens have been described as being part of a group of bullies, sources said.

Details of how Miami-Dade police identified the suspects — and what exactly happened that night — were unavailable on Thursday night. Other arrests are still pending.

Jose went missing on June 28, and relatives had been searching for him throughout South Miami-Dade. His brother later found the body buried in the woods not far from the Job Corps facility, which is run by the U.S. Department of Labor.

The program helps young people get their high school diplomas and learn job skills for everything from masonry to office administration. The program’s website says it has a “zero tolerance” policy for violence among students.

According to his family, Jose that night had asked for permission from the school to go buy food and never returned. The brother found the body in a wooded area that had been torched.

“A crime is bad, but what Jose suffered was horrible,” his cousin, Ana Morales, wrote on a website dedicated to helping the family financially.

Relatives described Jose as a “peaceful” boy who worked at a flea market selling ice cream.

Neither Lucas nor Colon has never been arrested in Florida, records show. Arbelo has been arrested twice as a juvenile, once for exhibiting a weapon on school grounds, another time for petty theft; the outcomes of those cases were not public on Thursday.