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Vigil held for Escondido man allegedly murdered by friend

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ESCONDIDO, Calif. – Sunday was an evening full of tears, as loved ones gathered at Mountain View Park in Escondido to remember Maithem Alfuraiji, who was killed last month during a fight.

“He always gave everything when he needed it more than I did,” said Anthony Alfuraiji, Maithem’s brother.

According to prosecutors, the 20-year-old was killed by his friend Salvador Alejandro Sanchez. He allegedly put Maithem in a chokehold until he died. Sanchez then dumped his friend’s body and bragged about the killing on Snapchat.

“I can’t believe that guy did this, and to say he likes God, it’s just dumb,” said Anthony.

Maithem was not only a brother but also a son, grandson and good friend. He even touched the hearts of his friend’s parents who organized the vigil.

“Sweet, funny and very gentle,” said Anne Lightoller.

Maithem’s last words of encouragement to his younger brother to pursue acting will never be forgotten.

“He texted me maybe a week before it happened, just like saying, I know you’re going to make it big someday,” said Anthony.

Sanchez he will now stand trial and faces 25 years to life in prison if convicted. But Maithem’s family says it will never be enough.

“Only I miss my grandson. I don’t feel nothing for Alejandro,” said Maithem’s grandfather, Armando Rodriguez.

The family is trying to raise funds for Maithem’s funeral. For information on how to help visit


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