LAS CRUCES, N.M. — A Las Cruces family is mourning the loss of their only son after his body was recovered Sunday at Caballo Lake.
Omar Sanchez, 19, was reported missing on a camping trip Saturday and was found in the lake after divers combed the area, according to New Mexico State Police.
"We just want to let him know that we really love him and we aren't going to forget him," said Christopher Valles, Sanchez's best friend.
Family and friends gathered outside the Sanchez's home Monday afternoon telling stories about their loved one.
"I miss him dearly," said Sanchez's uncle Ralph Ibarra. "He used to wake me up to go to work.
Sanchez had graduated from Mayfield High School in May of 2012.
He had been attending Dona Ana Community College to become a dental hygienist and was in his second semester.
His parents, Oscar and Christina Sanchez, said he was a good student with a 3.7 GPA.
Valles said his friend worked hard in the classroom.
"He passed with mostly A's and B's every semester," Valles said. "He was hitting the books harder than anybody I ever knew."
The two became close friends while in the 6th grade and went to high school together where Sanchez excelled on the basketball court for Mayfield.
"Omar was a great player to have on the team," said Coach Daniel Flores. "Not only was he a great player on the court, but he was also a coach on the court."
Flores said he was shocked to hear the news and never expected such a terrible thing to happen to such a good person.
"Bad things don't happen to good people, but in this case it did," Flores said. "Omar is one of the best kids I've ever been around,
Those who knew Sanchez said he was passionate about sports and loved to play basketball.
"If he wasn't practicing here, he was practicing at home everyday," Valles said.
His room was decorated with memorabilia of his favorite teams.
Friends said he religiously followed the Baltimore Ravens, Miami Heat and New York Yankees.
They said his memory lives on through the good times they spent with him.
"I love him so much," Valles said. "I'm never going to forget him and I'm always going to have his rosary on me, that's my brother."
The cause of his death is still under investigation. His body was taken to Albuquerque for an autopsy.
Family is planning funeral arrangements once that is completed.
Family of Omar Sanchez has set up an account to help pay for funeral expenses.
Compass Bank - acct: 6701712682