CHIMAYO, N.M. -- In one photo, high school sweethearts Richard Martinez and Karen Castanon are kissing. The engraved wooden photo frame reads: ''This moment will last forever.''
The 17-year-olds had been dating since their freshman year at Los Alamos High School.
''They were inseparable,'' said Louise Maestas, the boy's aunt. Saturday, she and other family members were mourning the loss of both.
Police say the two were shot to death as they made a Good Friday pilgrimage to a church believed to contain healing dirt in this small northern New Mexico village.
Their bodies were found several miles apart -- his before dawn on a highway about 30 miles north of Santa Fe; hers hours later in a remote, hilly area.
''I can't recall there being an incident like this'' during the annual journey, said state police Capt. Carlos Maldonado.
Police had no suspects in the deaths, classified as homicides. Patrols were beefed up along the pilgrimage routes.
''At this point, we are making a public plea for anyone to come forward with any information,'' said state police Sgt. Royleen Ross-Weaver. ''We suspect there were people (other pilgrims) in the area.''
At the slain boy's home in the tiny community of La Villita, northwest of Chimayo, Raymond and Gerri Martinez sat in their son's bedroom Friday night, weeping.
''My son was perfect,'' Gerri Martinez said. ''He didn't have any enemies. He was the light of our life. ... My baby didn't deserve this.''
The father described his son as a good student and athlete who liked hunting and fishing and helped coach a local girls' softball team. He also was deeply religious and was to have played the part of Jesus in a Good Friday observance at the town's parish church.
''He was a beautiful kid. Now he's gone,'' the father said.
The bedroom is adorned with sports jerseys, football helmets and photographs of his girlfriend.
Tens of thousands of people each year journey to El Santuario de Chimayo, a tradition that dates back almost two centuries. Good Friday is the most popular day for the pilgrimage. Last year, an estimated 65,000 visited the village's Roman Catholic church during Holy Week.
Pilgrims had packed the small adobe church by midday Friday. Many arrived carrying wooden crosses or lilies. Some had walked only a mile or two; others had been on the road for two or three days.
The draw is a room with a small hole whose dirt is thought to possess healing power. The room is filled with crutches and canes left behind by visitors.
Another pilgrim Marlene Martinez of Albuquerque, who is not related to the victim, said she was shocked by the shootings. ''It's supposed to be a holy day,'' she said.
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