January 24, 2013

NM teen spent time at church after slayings

Susan Montoya Bryan / The Associated Press

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This undated photo provided by Eric Griego shows Nehemiah Griego. Griego is charged with killing five family members, including his father, mother, and three youngest siblings in Albuquerque, N.M.


"Our hearts break, Lord," Pastor Skip Heitzig told the crowd. "We, often in times like these, scratch our heads and wonder why. We are at a loss for words and we are certainly at a loss for explanation."

Heitzig shared stories about Greg Griego, who once served as pastor at Calvary. He said Greg was always ready to "get his hands dirty" and was dedicated to helping others find God through his work as a pastor and as a volunteer chaplain. He also urged the crowd to remember that forgiveness and restoration — two tenets dear to Greg — will be important as the community moves forward.

Relatives in a statement Tuesday night said they were heartbroken, and remembered the teen as a bright and talented musician who played guitar, drums and bass with the church choir. He also was a champion wrestler who dreamed of following his family's long tradition of military service, and a boy who accompanied his pastor father on rescue missions to Mexico, they said.

"We have not been able to comprehend what led to this incredibly sad situation. However, we are deeply concerned about the portrayal in some media of Nehemiah as some kind of a monster."

The statement, emailed by the boy's uncle, Eric Griego, called on the media and the public not to use 15-year-old Nehemiah Griego "as a pawn for ratings or to score political points."

"He is a troubled young man who made a terrible decision that will haunt him and his family forever," the statement said.

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