Cause of death still unknown for 15-year-old beaten in Winter Park

Roger Trindade died after he was taken off life support

WINTER PARK, Fla. – Grief counselors will be at Winter Park High School on Wednesday for students and staff mourning the death of a student beaten in a park Saturday night.

Winter Park police said Tuesday that detectives are interviewing several teens in connection with the death of Roger Trindade, 15, who was taken off life support Monday night.

[LISTEN AT BOTTOM OF STORY: 911 calls released in Winter Park teen's death]

Winter Park police Chief Michael Deal said Trindade was found unconscious late Saturday in Central Park near the intersection of Park Avenue and Morse Boulevard.

Deal said detectives are trying to determine what role some fellow high school students may have played in the fight. Deal said some of the teens' parents are cooperating, but he urged others to do the same.

Deal said he is unable to release details about what led to the fight, citing the fact that juveniles are involved. He did say, however, that some sort of spray -- not Mace or pepper-spray -- may have instigated the incident. No weapons were used, police said.

Trindade had minimal visible injuries when he was found near a gazebo in the park, Deal said.

The Orange County Medical Examiner's Office completed an autopsy report on Trindade on Wednesday, but the results are pending further testing and could take several weeks.

Trindade was an organ donor and his final gift will be helping others, said Carrie Proudfit, Orange County public information officer.

"He was a good kid," Deal said. "Our hearts go out to his family."

Deal said Trindade was not targeted and the indications thus far show that the fight was not gang-related, racially based or a hate crime.

"We just think it was by chance," Deal said. "Our goal is to find out what happened and put this to rest."

As of now, the incident is classified as a suspicious death.

"This tragic event appears to be an isolated incident between juveniles," police said.

Deal said detectives are checking cameras in the area for more evidence.

"There is no indication that this group set out to kill somebody. Until we get more info, we can't speculate on their motives or intentions," Deal said.

When asked why information about the case is just now coming out, Deal said, "We are not trying to hide anything."

Legal expert Steven Kramer said he believes police are not releasing many details on this case because of the age of the people involved.

"When you have a crime that looks like juveniles all the way around that means that law enforcement has to be extra sensitive to the individual and the potential defendants as well," said Kramer.

If any actions made by the teenagers involved led to Trindade's death, they could face serious charges including felony murder or manslaughter or even be charged as an adult, Kramer said.

Winter Park Mayor Steve Leary said there is no further safety concerns for residents, businesses or guests.

"I want the family to know that our hearts go out to them," he said. "Winter Park is a compassionate community. Please keep the family in your prayers."

Leary also said that the Trindade family has asked for privacy to mourn the loss of their son.

The attack has received widespread attention on social media and in the victim's home country of Brazil.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends. The tragedy that occurred in the community leading to our student's death leaves us all with many questions and we are here to support students," Winter Park High School principal Tim Smith said.

Grief counselors are available for Winter Park High School students and PSAT and SAT testing has been rescheduled for Nov. 2.

Students told News 6 on Wednesday the mood at school was heavy.

"It's really like you can sense that something has happened," said student Zavier Marquez. "It's really sad."

Check back to and watch News 6 for updates on this story.

About the Authors:

Erik Sandoval joined the News 6 team as a reporter in May 2013. He is one of the station’s lead reporters. During his time at News 6, Erik has covered several major stories, including the 2016 Presidential campaign. He was also one of the first reporters live on the air at the Pulse Nightclub shooting.

Mark Lehman became a News 6 reporter in July 2014, but he's been a Central Florida journalist and part of the News 6 team for much longer. While most people are fast asleep in their bed, Mark starts his day overnight by searching for news on the streets of Central Florida.