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Saturday, 25 October 2008

Britney R. Galindez,had known links to Vatos Locos 13, Detectives are investigating the death as a homicide.

11:00 |

Snoho­mish County medical examiner identified the girl found floating Tuesday in Lake Ballinger as Britney R. Galindez, 17, of Seattle.She had known links to gangs, Mountlake Terrace police said Thursday. Detectives are investigating the death as a homicide."The lifestyle she led was a lifestyle of gang activity with the attendant drugs and the criminal activity that goes along with the lifestyle," Mountlake Terrace police Sgt. Doug Hansen said.
Galindez had connections with Vatos Locos 13, a street gang that has been active in the north Seattle area, Hansen said.Her MySpace page included text that was an apparent reference to the gang.When police divers pulled her from the water Tuesday, Galindez was wearing a gold-colored belt buckle with "13" on it. The number 13 is commonly affiliated with various Hispanic gangs.The teenager also told Seattle police earlier this year she was harassed by Sarah Black, a notorious MS-13 gang member, Hansen said. Black is now behind bars for her part in a June 11 drive-by shooting in Everett.Galindez apparently told police Black was trying to recruit her to run with MS-13, a gang that has a history of violent confrontation with Vatos Locos, Hansen said.Police do not have evidence that the teenager's death was a result of a gang rivalry, he said.The cause of her death remains under investigation. Officials are waiting for toxicology results, which can take weeks.
Earlier this year, three MS-13 members, including Black, pleaded guilty to the south Everett drive-by shooting that left a rival gang member wounded. Police suspect the shooting was in retaliation for gunfire outside a Seattle mall that hit an MS-13 member.Black, who has gang tattoos on her face, admitted recruiting new members to join the ranks, court records show.Mountlake Terrace detectives are working with law enforcement agencies around the region to collect evidence in Galindez's death, Hansen said.Regional gang task force members and federal immigration agents are being tapped for information, the detective said.Detectives are trying to re-­create the teen's final days and talk to anyone who may have seen her.Galindez was last seen around 7:30 p.m. Oct. 13 headed from the Northgate Transit Center to the Everett area, said Daniel Bittick, her stepfather.Relatives and friends on Monday put up signs and contacted the media, looking for the girl. Witnesses called police Tuesday to report a possible mannequin floating in the water near the Lake Ballinger boat ramp.Bittick, 34, of Bonney Lake, said his stepdaughter never talked to him about gangs."You never think your little girl would be into that," he said.

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