DENVER — Police in Denver are looking for information about the murder of a 14-year-old boy whose body was found near a baseball field at the Southwest Recreation Center on Monday afternoon.
Josiaz “JoJo” Aragon was found dead at the rec center, located at 9200 West Saratoga Place, around 1:15 p.m. Monday, according to Denver police and Metro Denver Crime Stoppers.
He would have turned 15 on Wednesday, according to police.
Police initially called the scene a death investigation before saying it was a homicide, though they have not released details of how they believe the boy was killed.
Denver Police Department spokesperson Doug Schepman said Aragon had signs of trauma on his body but would not elaborate, saying the official cause and manner of death would be released by the medical examiner’s office.
The Denver Office of the Medical Examiner said Thursday Aragon died of “multiple sharp and blunt force injuries with a gunshot wound.”
Schepman said Aragon’s family is “very distraught” after his killing and that they had plans to celebrate his birthday Wednesday before the murder.
Schepman said Aragon did not live in the area and that police have yet to determine a connection to the rec center, though investigators believe he was killed at the location where he was found.
Adrian Martinez knew Aragon since he was about 5 years old and helped raise the teen for several years while he was with the boy’s mother.
He last spoke with Aragon on July 4 , when they had a long conversation and told Aragon he loved him and to keep in touch. He said he was still in shock on Wednesday.
“I’ll be honest with you, I’m still numb. I had a couple breakdowns, but I’m trying to get through,” he said. "...He was a good kid. He was always playful, always having fun. He loved his sister and his brothers."
Police are asking anyone who might have home surveillance cameras who live in the area to check them to see if they captured any of the incident on Monday.
Metro Denver Crime Stoppers and police are asking anyone with information to call 720-913-7867 immediately.
Aragon's murder marks the 60th so far this year in Denver and the ninth involving a juvenile.
Schepman called that number "alarming" and "unacceptable" and said the city could surpass its record number of homicides by the end of the year if the trend continues. There were 96 homicides in Denver in 2021 and 95 in 2020 — the most recorded in the city since the deadliest year ever in 1981, when 100 people were murdered.
Denver7's Amy Wadas contributed to this report.