TAMPA (FOX 13) - The family of a 19-year-old student at Hillsborough Community College student believes he was the victim of a homicide, after his body was found floating Monday morning in the Hillsborough River.
"I can't even express myself right now," said Olga Maldonado, the aunt of Bruce Rivera. "But, I pray that justice will be served."
Saturday night Bruce Rivera told his family he was headed to the store to pick up soda.
His girlfriend said his car came back without him, with two men inside, who said he'd gotten lost after they all went to Sulphur Springs Park.
The family recognized the two men from the neighborhood and say Bruce knew them too.
"What I don't understand is, if you lost him, why didn't you go and look for him, why did you take his car whatsoever?" asked his girlfriend, Kristina Costilow.
He was found after Tampa police got a call Monday morning from someone saying it looked like there was a body in the river, a day-and-a-half after his family last saw him.
Police say there were no obvious signs of bullet or stab wounds.
"There was malicious intent," said Maldonado. "I am sure of that. Forensics will prove us right."
Rivera was a student at HCC, hoping to work in criminal justice.
His family also says he worked part-time at a trucking company.
"It's horrible the way he was found," said another aunt, Jennifer Vasquez. "I can't imagine what he went through that night. We just need a lot of prayers right now."
A light of their life, one with a promising future, is out sooner than they can bear.
"He was cheerful, giving, loving, always trying to be better," said Maldonado. "God is our strength. We have to, we have to, if we didn't, then we would be just like them."