Family and friends say farewell to a murdered Visalia teen


Police are still holding the victim's step-father behind bars without bail. He could be in court as early as Monday. Meanwhile, family members are still in grieving and looking for answers. They held a private funeral for Damiean and more than 200 people were in attendance.

Grieving family members left the funeral service carrying the casket of 14-year-old Damiean. Many knew him as Luke. Investigators have not revealed much about how he died, but on Saturday, his loved ones were focused on how he lived.

"It was a good time together, celebrating Luke's life, many comments about how he has positively impacted the lives of various folks," Pastor Mark Wilson said.

Luke was autistic, but that's not what people remembered about him. He was optimistic, friendly and spent time volunteering at a Tulare nursing home where his mother worked.

His family attended Sierra Baptist church and Wilson has been in close contact with his mother during the difficult time.

"I'm sure a lot of this reality is going to sink in, now that we've reached this part of the process," Wilson said.

Luke went missing Monday Nov. 18. His body was found the following Thursday, partially covered in Sequoia National Park. The only suspect named and only arrest made was Luke's step-father, Miguel Villegas.

"It's grief that's added to grief, and a lot of confusion, and various emotions as you can imagine that are wrapped up in this, from deep sadness and loss to angst, frustration and hostility," Wilson said.

Wilson was the pastor who married Miguel Villegas and Luke's mother, Andrea, nearly three years ago. Miguel and Andrea have two children of their own, a 3-year-old daughter and a 2-year-old son. As far as many could tell, they were just like any normal family, who prayed and went to church.

The family will hold a private burial for Luke next week at the Visalia Public Cemetery.

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