School friends in the NSW Riverina region are mourning the loss of a “beautiful soul” and popular teenage boy who was allegedly stabbed to death by a relative’s estranged boyfriend. Residents on Acacia Street at Kooringal, a suburb of Wagga Wagga, heard yelling and a scuffle on Tuesday night before calling 000.
Paramedics arrived at a split level property about 8pm to find a 16-year-old boy with multiple stab wounds.
Despite best efforts to revive him, the teenager, who can’t be identified, died at the home locals say he shared with his mother.
“There were no big crowds. It appears it was basically the offender, the teenager and another witness who became involved,” acting Inspector Roy Elmes from Wagga Wagga Local Area Command said.
The man allegedly responsible for his injuries, Bryce Cliff, is accused of stealing a car from a nearby street and fleeing the area.
Fairfax Media understands Cliff had previously been in a relationship with a relative of the teenager. However the reason for his dispute with the teen remains unclear.
Three hours later police found the 29-year-old Cliff at Big Springs, about 20km south east of Wagga Wagga in a stolen Toyota.
After being assessed at hospital, Cliff, from Wollongong, was charged with murder and aggravated break and enter.
He rubbed his hands against his face as he appeared in Wagga Wagga Local Court via audio visual link on Wednesday.
Formerly refused bail, his case was adjourned to August.
The teenager’s friends have remembered the Kooringal High School student as a character who was “gone way too soon”.
“You were such a character and had such a beautiful soul,” Telika Tequila Canham wrote on Facebook.
“Your like a little brother to me, your (sic) apart of our family and you always will be.”
Lachlan Leeder remembered first meeting the teen, who was “the craziest fella I ever met”.
“Just didn’t think I’d ever have to write your name in a sentence with rip in it,” Lachlan Leeder wrote on Facebook.
“Wish I spent more time with you in hs before I left, gone way too soon man.”
Students at Kooringal High School will be offered counselling as they grapple with the teenager’s death.
“Hoping you’re up there shredding man,” Ebony-Rose Keogh said.
“We all love you and miss you so much. Still can’t believe this has happened, much love….”
Tina Clarke, who has lived in Acacia Street for almost 10 years, was woken by the sound of sirens and chaos late on Tuesday night.
She said the killing occurred in a neighbourhood that was increasingly plagued by crime.
“It’s frightening, horrific and quite frankly it’s just sad and depressing. It’s such a tragedy for a young boy to lose his life,” Ms Clarke said.
“People have just been more violent lately, it’s such a shock but oddly expected too.”