Teen's Brutal Murder Sheds New Light on Homestead Job Corps

Four teens are now accused in the brutal murder of a Homestead teenager, and details of the case are disturbing.

They all attended Homestead Job Corps Center, where they skipped out of the dorms on June 28.

Investigators said 17-year-old Jose Santos Amaya-Guardado was lured by four classmates to a prepared grave site, where he was hacked with a machete, partially buried and set on fire.

In addition, police said two of the suspects, including 18-year-old Desiray Strickland, who was in bond court on Thursday, then had sex near the victim's body.

All four of the suspects are being held without bond.

The grisly crime is shedding new light on the Job Corps Center in Homestead, a place where nearly 300 underprivileged youth are given a chance to learn about jobs and other skills.

Less than six months ago, NBC 6 learned Job Corps had been warned to crack down on violent students. The Homestead center was among those that improperly kept them on campus in 2012 or 2013 after they should have been expelled.

They were warned that would put students at risk, and while the Department of Labor said it took steps to correct the problems, it's now dealing with the tragic, senseless, barbaric murder of Amaya-Guardado.

In addition to vocational and academic training, YouTube suggests the 16 to 24-year-old students may also encounter anything from a so-called "human vibrating recliner" to aspiring MMA-style fighters, as shown in posted videos.

A physical assault that causes bodily harm is supposed to lead to automatic expulsion from Job Corps, but a Department of Labor Inspector General's report this year found Homestead Job Corps center, and others, improperly downgraded zero-tolerance assault violations to lesser infractions, allowing the violent students to remain.

"By retaining potentially dangerous students who should have been discharged, centers exposed other students and staff to avoidable, potential harm," the inspector general stated.

NBC 6 tried to ask ResCare, which manages the Homestead center for the Department of Labor, if the four Job Corps students charged so far in Amaya-Guardado's killing had prior disciplinary actions, but have received no answer.

ResCare, based in Kentucky, sent its vice president of Job Corps operations to Homestead in the wake of the killing, but he referred all questions to the U.S. Department of Labor.

The Department of Labor did say Amaya-Guardado's murder has prompted it to strengthen security at the Homestead center, and review it at all of its 125 centers.

It's also offering counseling and grief services for students who may need it.

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