Family of teen found dead under bridge facing social media assault

Police piecing together clues and tips, watching social media closely

SAN ANTONIO – There are candles, flowers and tributes tucked underneath the West Side bridge near Vera Cruz and Nueva Leon Street where 15-year-old Natalie Chavez's body was found Thursday morning.

Medical examiners have said the cause of her death was asphyxia, meaning she was likely strangled.

San Antonio Police Chief William McManus would not give specifics about the investigation into her death, but he did say Chavez had some issues.

"She's run away before. We've got a missing persons report on file for her from some time ago. She was not reported missing, though, when she was murdered," McManus said.

What has also surfaced in the days since her death has been a full-on Facebook assault, McManus said. There have been multiple mean and derogatory posts that police are watching closely.

"They're very inappropriate," McManus said. "Our detectives are talking to a lot of people -- as many as they can. Every bit of information can be critical. We want anyone with useful information to call us. We're not interested in people calling in and bad-mouthing her."

Chavez's death has nearby residents on edge.

"It's scary. I don't want to go anywhere by myself, even during the day or night, it's scary," said Desiree Scruggs.

Her father, Carlos Johnson, said Chavez had been away from home at the time of her death, but wouldn't say for how long. He described Chavez as a good girl, great daughter and friend.

"She has a lot of friends. As the days have gone by, we've found out she has a lot of friends, a whole bunch of friends," Johnson said.

Despite the cruel and inappropriate social media posts, Johnson said his family is choosing to focus on honoring Chavez and remembering the beautiful person she was.

At 11 a.m. on Saturday, there will be a fundraiser to raise money for funeral expenses at T.C.'s Sports Bar, at 3503 Commercial Ave.