VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WVEC) -- The family of a teen whose body was found floating in the waters of Lake Smith/Lawson is raising money to transport him back to his home country, El Salvador.

Virginia Beach Police said around 10 a.m. on July 6, officials received a call about a deceased man that was found near the shoreline by two kayakers. The body was later identified as 19-year-old Jairo Armando Sanchez-Guardado of Chesapeake.

This case has been classified as a suspicious death and is being investigated by members of the department's Homicide Unit.

Sanchez-Guardado’s mother spoke with 13News Now, but she didn’t want to share her full name. She said she and her family are terrified for their safety after officers called the death suspicious.

“I feel heartbroken,” said the mother. “I’m scared. I don’t sleep at my house. I sleep somewhere else at night because what they did to Jairo, they can do to my other kids or me.”

Jairo Sanchez-Guardado's mother holds a picture of her deceased son.
Jairo Sanchez-Guardado's mother holds a picture of her deceased son.
Jaclyn Lee, 13News Now

13News Now learned more about the 19-year-old. He immigrated from El Salvador two years ago and wanted to live the American dream and become an artist.

“He was a person that liked to help other people,” said his mom, fighting back tears. “A very happy person. He liked singing songs, taking photos, he wrote songs. He liked painting and riding his bike, sports.”

Family members said Sanchez-Guardado worked construction in Chesapeake, and they have no idea how authorities found his body in Virginia Beach. According to family members, they don't know who would want to harm him.

“It’s a life. It’s a person,” said the mother. “My son wasn’t bad. There’s no reason he should have died like that… I want justice for my son.”

The family wants to send Sanchez-Guardado’s body home to El Salvador where he can be reunited with the rest of his family. The family started an online fundraiser to help raise money to send his body back home. Anyone interested in donating can click here.

A spokesperson with VBPD would not say if there are any suspects or leads in the case. This remains an active investigation by members of the department's Homicide Unit.

Anyone with information regarding Jairo Sanchez-Guardado is encouraged to call Virginia Beach Crime Solvers at 1-888-LOCK-U-UP (1-888-562-5887).

Follow 13News Now on Facebook and Twitter

► Make it easy to keep up to date with more stories like this. Download the 13News Now App.