Why did Salvador Sanchez, a youth fresh from high school, who had spent months fully immersed in his church youth group, and filled with a faith he was eager to share suddenly turn into a killer? On the night of April 22, 2017, nineteen-year-old Salvador Sanchez clothed himself in all white because it was symbolic and pure, before killing his best friend, Maithem Alfuraiji. Salvador then immediately posted videos to Snapchat, boasting and joking about what he had done.
Was Salvador a cold and callous murderer as the prosecution contended? Or did he suffer a psychotic break, overcome by mental illness, believing he must kill in order to save others as the defense propounded? Was there really a vision that Maithem’s reckless driving would cause the death of 20 children and Salvador alone was called upon to stop it? Or was this a manufactured excuse concocted to save himself? Or did the answer somehow lie in Salvador’s unstable childhood, born to a thirteen-year-old mother who at times suffered from mental issues, bounced from home to home, and exposed to fanatical religion? Or was the answer more straightforward: a marijuana induced psychosis? Read about this gripping and heartbreaking trial in the fall issue of True Crime: Case Files Magazine. The story begins on page 38.