16-Year-Old To Be Charged As Adult In Girlfriend's Murder
Melanie Koontz Was Strangled At Creek
Omaha, NE - Prosecutors say the 16-year-old ex boyfriend of Melanie Koontz will be charged as an adult in her murder.
Police were called to 78th and Blondo on May 15th to investigate a drowning--and found Koontz's body in the creek below the bridge. She was a student at Benson High.
Authorities say she was strangled at the scene.
Lenz also was a student at Benson, but a spokeswoman for Omaha Public Schools said he hadn't attended school there since last November.
A check of court records shows Lenz was in trouble for possession of marijuana, and for fighting with another student at Benson. He'd been suspended for the fight.
In Court on Friday, prosecutors say Lenz strangled Koontz under the Cole Creek Bridge. They say Lenz told someone else he had strangled Koontz.
"You played all of us," said Koontz's friend Selena Stack. "You made all of us feel it wasn't you and we thought it was someone else."
Friends visited the Cole Creek memorial Friday, looking for some closure. They say Lenz attended Melanie Koontz's funeral and a balloon release days after she was she was found in the creek.
"For you to show up at the funeral, how can you show your face, especially after being accused of something so horrible," said Victoria Casebeer.
The victim and the suspect were students at Benson High School. Lenz left the school sometime before the school year was out.
Friends say the two teens had been dating for a while, but Koontz broke it off sometime last year.
“Tears came when it set in, when we hear he was arrested,” said Amber Hoffman. “Everyone started crying and balling, because we were happy that she'll finally be able to rest peacefully knowing they caught the person. However, it still hurts to think it may have been him and something like that was done to take her away from us.”
He is being held at the Douglas County Youth Center without bail. He is due back in court in July.