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A 16-year-old suspect in a drive-by shooting was found dead in the Kensington-Bailey area Friday morning by a young boy walking to school, homicide police said.

The body of Joseph Watson Jr. of Alice Street was found near a garage on Tarkio Place by a 12-year-old boy, according to Capt. Joseph Riga, Homicide Bureau chief. An autopsy determined Watson had died of strangulation, although he apparently also had been beaten, Riga said.

"We are considering the possibility it was gang- or drug-related," Riga said of the year's first homicide.

Watson, who was last seen alive Tuesday -- when he attended school -- had been reported missing Thursday night by his father. Watson's father told police he had last seen his son Monday, Riga said.

It is believed Watson had been dead a couple of days when his body was found, the captain said.

Police believe Watson was killed someplace other than where his body was found.

"He was wrapped up," Riga said, declining to elaborate. "It appears he was killed somewhere else."

Charges were pending against Watson in an Oct. 1 drive-by shooting at French and Kehr streets that injured two persons. Watson and another teen were accused of circling the block several times in a car before opening fire on another man, who underwent surgery for wounds to his right arm and abdomen.

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