Vigil for 14-year-old girl found dead in dumpster

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PHOENIX  -- The family of a 14-year-old girl found dead in an apartment dumpster led a remembrance for her on Monday night.

Earlier in the day, Mesa police confirmed they are treating the death of Claudia Ann Lucero as a homicide. Claudia was a freshman at Westwood High School. More than 100 of her friends, family and classmates showed up to lay candles and other mementos at the spot where her body was discovered.

“It hurts because it's my sister, but everybody's here to support her which makes me happy,” said Ricky Lucero, Claudia’s brother.

Claudia was last seen by her family Thursday morning before school. The family reported her as a possible runaway when she didn't come home Thursday night. Just hours later, the teen’s body was discovered by dumpster divers near Brown Road and Mesa Drive.

While the body was found last week, police didn’t make the identification public until Monday.

“I was just talking to her Wednesday and that was the last day I saw her,” said Kevin Santana, a classmate who attended Monday night’s vigil. “I just came to pay my respects.”

Those who knew Claudia described her as pretty and fun; a popular girl. “A lot of people liked her. She was really nice and she had a lot of friends. She was a really good person,” said Kenya Braxton, a classmate who also happens to live within 100 feet of the dumpster where Claudia’s body was found.

Mesa police haven't made any arrests in the case and haven't released a cause of death. Anyone with information about the case should call the Mesa Police Department.