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Friends and neighbors remember 17-year-old Raymond Wood

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LYNCHBURG, Va. (WSET) -- A friend of Raymond Wood, the 17-year-old found dead in Bedford County Monday night, is speaking out about Wood's death.

Bryan Escobar lives in the same neighborhood and he says he knew Wood since sixth grade.

He says they'd go to each other's houses so much, Wood's mother grew to call him one of her own. Escobar says that the past 24 hours have been excruciating. Especially now that police are looking at what could be the homicide of what he calls his "right hand man."

"Obviously no one is taking this lightly, I've already had my trembling, shaking, about to pass out moment," said Escobar. "He had the biggest heart. What happened to him... he did not deserve that. I just feel empty; he was my right hand man... I just feel empty."

Friend, Ali Mays shared the same feelings. Mays and Wood lived on the same street and were very close. Especially in the last year Mays said.

She says the last time she talked to him was just on Sunday, just 24 hours before he was found dead. Their last words to each other: "Stay safe."

"He put a smile on everyone's face, he was just a really sweet boy and for something like that to happen to him it's just sad, he was so polite and respectful and it's just sad to see his family in this situation," said Mays.

Mays says Wood was graduating this year from Fort Hill Community School in Lynchburg.

Community members where Wood once lived also spoke to ABC13 Wednesday.

One woman who lives on Coronado Lane describes the community as her "little piece of country in the city." But now, the entire neighborhood is in a state of shock after finding out one of their young neighbors was found dead.

The circumstances surrounding his disappearance and death are unclear, but, neighbors want answers. "I'm just livid that a child on our street went missing and apparently has been murdered," said "Marina Pillow, Wood's neighbor. "It just hits real close to home."

"My husband and I have seen this boy on this street we've spoken to him so we had a face," added neighbor, Barbara LeFew.

We did reach out to the family of Raymond Wood, but they were too grief-stricken to talk.

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The Bedford County Sheriff's Office is assuring the public that they have no reason to be concerned. Wood's death is now a homicide investigation.

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