Colo. Teen, 17, Is Slain in Car Before Longtime Friend Kills Himself in Suspected Murder-Suicide

Mya Pena was found dead in her friend's car

Mya Pena
Photo: GoFundMe

Police in Colorado believe a teen was killed by her longtime friend, who then fatally shot himself.

On Jan. 14, Mya Pena, 17, got into 18-year-old Samuel Hoffman’s car after school. The pair had been lifelong friends, according to Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock, the Denver Post, Highlands Ranch Herald and KUSA report.

Less than a half an hour later, police believe Hoffman killed Pena while parked in a parking lot near Mile High Academy in Highlands Ranch, where she went to school. Her cause of death was not immediately clear.

During a search for Pena later that night, authorities found Hoffman and his car with Pena’s body inside parked off of Interstate 25 in Fountain. When authorities approached the car, Hoffman fatally shot himself.

“Mya will be greatly missed by everyone who knew her,” her best friend Emily wrote on a GoFundMe page launched to help Pena’s family.

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Before her death, Pena played on a soccer team.

On Thursday, friends and family hosted a candlelight vigil.

“Even if she was having a bad day, she always had a smile on her face. And even though her smile is not here, with us anymore, she’ll always be remembered,” one friend said at the vigil.

Pena’s and Hoffman’s deaths are still under investigation. Spurlock said Hoffman had a history of mental health issues.

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text “STRENGTH” to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or go to

CORRECTION: This article originally stated in error that Mya Pena was fatally shot. However, police have not released her cause of death.

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