MISHAWAKA — The Mishawaka High School community is coming to grips with a tragedy.
A 17-year-old girl who was a junior and former cheerleader was found dead Sunday morning.
Her alleged killer is a 16-year-old football player for the school and is now in custody.
Police wouldn’t say specifically what the relationship was between the alleged killer and his victim, but a family member tells us the girl who died was 6 months pregnant.
Her body was found in a dumpster.
17-year-old Breana Rouhselang was reported missing by her family around midnight Saturday.
Police were called out on the case around 4:30 a.m. Sunday when they found evidence of a violent crime.
They found the teen’s body in a dumpster behind Rulli’s restaurant, near the intersection of Battell and Division streets.
“It was a location of an opportunity to try to hide the victim, I would assume,” said Asst. Commander Alex Aredt.
Police began investigating and found their suspect, a football player at Mishawaka High School: 16-year-old Aaron Trejo.
He wore the #26 jersey this past season.
“It was learned that these two individuals knew each other through the football team at Mishawaka High school,” said Aredt.
They say they believe Trejo killed the girl and disposed of her body in a dumpster early Sunday morning.
Breana’s family told us she was a manager on the football team. She also used to be a cheerleader at the school.
Police haven’t confirmed, but her stepmother said Breana was 6 months pregnant.
No official cause of death has been determined yet, but investigators say she was shot, stabbed or both.
Residents in the area where the body was found were shocked to wake up to the yellow police tape, and even more so because investigators say Breana lived just down the street from where her body was found.
Her alleged killer lived a few blocks away in a home in the 300 block of West Lawrence Street. Police served a search warrant there and brought him in for questioning.
“At the end of this interview, the decision for a preliminary charge of murder was made and he was ultimately transported to the St. Joseph County Jail,” said Aredt.
Deputy Prosecutor Chris Fronk says the prosecutor’s office will file formal murder charges Monday morning.
Meanwhile, this gruesome crime has shaken investigators.
“The thing is that most of us are fathers, and any senseless death is very upsetting, but when you’re talking about young people, it is more so,” said Fronk.
Police say an autopsy on Breana Rouhselang will be performed sometime this week, likely on Monday.
We reached out to Mishawaka Schools Athletic Director and Communications Officer for comment.
Mishawaka High School released a statement:
The Mishawaka High School family suffered a terrible tragedy today. School administrators are working with authorities in the investigation of the death of 17-year-old Breana Rouhselang .
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family members and friends who have been affected by this great loss. Our focus is now to offer all of the support possible to our staff and students.
There will be grief counselors available at Mishawaka High School first thing in the morning and throughout the day. School will be open, and we believe it is best for all students to come and be around those who care for them.
School will be open Monday. School officials say they believe it is best for the students to come to school Monday.
Pasquale Rulli’s restaurant released a statement on their Facebook page:
And Mishawaka Mayor Dave Wood released this statement:
…I want to assure the community that there is no ongoing threat to public safety associated with this tragic event. These are the types of senseless tragedies that shake our small town community to its core. At this time, I would like to ask our citizens to join me in praying for Breana, her family, the Mishawaka High School community and all families that have been impacted. Our hearts go out to them.