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‘Why?’ Mother’s Grief is Palpable After 16-Year-Old Found Dead in Dirt Lot in Apple Valley

A murder mystery was underway in the High Desert after the body of a 16-year-old boy was found in a dirt lot.

Authorities in Apple Valley are searching for a killer, while the boy’s grieving mother is demanding justice.

“My only boy — 16 years old. The oldest and he’s gone,” Elizabeth Schmidt said.

It is a pain she can’t describe with words: a deep heartache only felt by parents who have lost a child.

As she talked with NBCLA, she stood in the exact spot where the body of her son Robert was found early Tuesday morning. A worker found Robert’s body at a playground in the 13500 block of Navajo Road, near the Head Start building.

“An amazing boy. Loving, caring,” Schmidt said. “He was an angel in my eyes. He was everything. Everything.”

She says the last time she saw Robert was Monday evening around 7:30 p.m.
Robert asked her to take him to Apple Valley Skate Park to hang out with friends, so she dropped him off.

“Everything was fine. He just seemed fine on our way here, we were talking about dinner,” she said. “When I got to the skatepark he said, ‘mom do you have $10?’ Then he said, ‘bye, I love you.’ And he knows I had work at 10 p.m.”

She said she works from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., so it wasn’t until early Tuesday morning that she found out that Robert didn’t come home.

“I had called 911. I pulled off to the side and called 911,” she said.

Elizabeth says her son’s friend Dre told her on the night Robert went missing that the two went to the Dollar General store on Navajo Road, which is just around the corner from the skate park.

But Dre went home after another friend showed up. From that point, Schmidt says its unclear what happened to Robert, and why he ended up dead in a dirt field across the road from the Dollar General.

She wept as she said she doesn’t understand why anyone would take the life of her son.

She wants that person to be punished to the fullest extent.

“Why would you leave my son in the dirt. You know. Why?” Schmidt said.

Schmidt says Robert’s friend Dre is fully cooperating with the investigation.

NBCLA noted a surveillance camera that has a clear shot of the crime scene. Investigators aren’t saying if it captured anything.

Heather Navarro contributed to this article.

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