September 28, 2022

Multi-Agency Investigation Results in Arrest in the Homicide of Missing El Paso Man

EL PASO, TX— The El Paso Police Department (EPPD), the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division (CID), and the FBI El Paso Field Office announce the arrest of an 18-year-old El Paso man, Michael Levya, for his alleged involvement in the murder of Manuel Sanchez, Jr.

  • On September 4, the family of Manuel Sanchez, Jr. filed a missing person’s report with El Paso Police Department after he didn’t come home that evening.
  • On September 9, 2022, a burnt vehicle was found in the desert near Fort Bliss with human remains in the vehicle. Army CID contacted FBI El Paso after identifying the owner of the vehicle.
  • On September 11, 2022, Special Agents from Army CID and the FBI El Paso’s Violent Crime Task Force met with the family of Manuel Sanchez, Jr.
  • On September 14, 2022, FBI El Paso conducted a high-risk warrant and evidence recovery at the residence of Michael Levya. Levya was taken into custody and turned over to the El Paso Police Department’s Crimes Against Persons Unit (CAP) for an outstanding state warrant on an aggravated robbery charge.

After Army CID confirmed the remains in the vehicle as Manual Sanchez, Jr., Levya was formally charged by EPPD CAP for Capital Murder—Texas Penal Code 19.03 along with Tampering with or Fabricating Physical Evidence—Texas Penal Code 37.09.

“Our condolences go out to the family of Manual Sanchez, Jr.,” said Jeffrey R. Downey, FBI El Paso special agent in charge. “This senseless act of violence has left a void in their hearts. Although we had to give parents the worst possible news about a child, we hope they can heal knowing that our agencies were able to start the path to justice for them.”

A state complaint is only an allegation. A defendant is considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.

The FBI’s El Paso Violent Crimes Task Force, U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division, and the El Paso Police Department’s Crimes Against Persons Unit jointly investigated this case with the assistance from the United States Attorney’s Office Western District of Texas and the El Paso County District Attorney’s Office.