Hundreds of people turned out Friday night in frigid temperatures to honor and pray for David Grunwald, the Palmer teenager who was kidnapped and murdered in November.
Renee Royal, of Wasilla, waved a sign “Justice For David”. Royal, a mother of two, said social media could have lured Grunwald into a dangerous scene he was not aware of.
“There was a lot of information on social media, and that is just indicative of the time that we live,” Royal said. “And so I think a lot of that has been perpetuated in this case, and I think that it definitely adds and element, an eerie element, to this story, to the overall feeling, that we are living in a community that there are some youth out there that are dangerous.. their mentalities. ”
Justice arrived swiftly on Friday, about the time mourners began showing up at the vigil at the Palmer state fairgrounds, with the arrest of four individuals linked to the murder.
Grunwald’s body was located December 2 in the woods near Knik River Road. The 16-year-old was reported missing on November 13. Another Palmer teen, 16-year-old Erick Almandinger, has been charged with Grunwald’s murder. Other suspects in the case were not named until December 8, when a Palmer Grand Jury issued arrest warrants for four other teenagers. According to an Alaska State Trooper dispatch posted Friday, December 9, Devin Peterson, Austin Barrett, Dominic Johnson, Bradley Terrigin-Renfro were all taken into custody for their warrants.
Johnson and Terrigin-Renfro, both 16 and from Wasilla, were charged with murder in the 1st degree, kidnapping, murder in the 2nd degree, and evidence tampering.
Barrett, 19 from Palmer, was charged with murder in the 1st degree, kidnapping, and murder in the 2nd degree.
Peterson, 18 from Wasilla, was charged with evidence tampering and hindering prosecution 1st Degree.
Erick Almandinger was taken into custody on December 2 and charged with murder in the first degree. Almandinger will be tried as an adult.
Correction: An earlier version of this story said that David Grunwald had been reported missing since November 3. He actually had been reported missing since November 13.