Arrest Made After Missing Teen's Body Found Decapitated Along River

Lee Manuel Viloria-Paulino, who was last seen Nov. 18, was found dead on Thursday.

A 16-year-old faces murder charges after another teen’s body was found decapitated near a river in northeast Massachusetts, authorities announced Saturday.

Mathew Borges was taken into custody this weekend on a count of first-degree murder. He will be tried as an adult in the case, Essex County District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett said at a press conference.

The arrest came two days after the body of 16-year-old Lee Manuel Viloria-Paulino, who was last seen Nov. 18, was found along the Merrimack River in Lawrence, authorities said. 

Police told the Boston Herald that the victim’s arms had been cut off near the elbows and that his head was discovered near his body, police told the Boston Herald.

The teens are believed to have been classmates, Blodgett said Saturday. However, it’s unclear whether Borges attended their high school regularly, the Eagle Tribune reported.

“I will not speculate as to a motive at this time, that would be wrong,” Blodgett told reporters, according to Fox 25 News. “I will not speculate if it was gang related.”

Lee Manuel Viloria-Paulino, 16, was reported missing in November.
Lee Manuel Viloria-Paulino, 16, was reported missing in November.

The slain teen’s family did not seem to be consoled to learn that an arrest had been made. 

Speaking outside their Lawrence home on Saturday, family members told the Tribune that they no longer feel safe, even though authorities have said they believe the teen’s death to be an isolated incident.

“It is our family today but it could be any other,” the victim’s grandfather, Gustavo Paulino, told the publication. 

The teen’s official cause of death is pending the results of an autopsy, the North Andover Patch reported.

Borges is scheduled to appear in court Monday. 

The Essex County district attorney’s office did not immediately return a request for comment.