Alexis Marron, 18, of Rolling Meadows, Ill., was one of three victims whose bodies were found Saturday, in the trunk of a car that had been burned to a shell near the town of Ixtlan de los Hervores in western Mexico, the Chicago Tribune reported. The town is known for its hot springs but is far from the major tourist areas along the Pacific coast.
Investigators told relatives it appears to be a random killing.
The Mexican state of Michoacan has seen growing violence from drug cartels, the newspaper said.
Marron, a popular senior at Rolling Meadows High School who had applied to several colleges, worked all summer to earn enough money visit family members in Mexico and visit his new girlfriend, the newspaper said.
Neighbors in the Chicago suburb took donations to help Marron's parents, who came to the United States in the 1990s, fly to Mexico to claim their son's remains.