'Our child will never be coming home': Preston Lord's stepmother speaks at Chandler City Council meeting

The death of 16-year-old Preston Lord at a Halloween party in Queen Creek has put a lot of attention and pressure on the East Valley police departments to investigate these teen violence cases.

On the night of January 11, family members of some of the victims spoke up during the Chandler City Council meeting. Preston Lord's stepmother, Melissa Ciconte, was one of them.

She said teens from several Valley cities were at the party where her stepson was killed and that's causing concern among parents about the rise in bullying and attacks on teens.

"The devastating loss of Preston’s life was due to unnecessary violence. Our child will never be coming home, and we need to prevent this from happening again."

So far, no arrests have been made in Preston Lord's murder, but the Queen Creek Police Department has sent recommended charges to the Maricopa County Attorney's Office against seven people related to the homicide investigation. 

Background on the Preston Lord murder investigation

Preston was beaten at a Halloween party in 2023 and died from his injuries at Phoenix Children's Hospital two days later. He was a student at Combs High School in nearby San Tan Valley, was on the student council and played several sports.

"We're just concerned about violence going on in our community. We're concerned about our young children being victimized. And we want answers, and we want individuals to be held accountable. And we want to send a clear message that if you commit a crime in our community, you're going to be held accountable and that's what we want our police departments.. Gilbert, Queen Creek, and surrounding police departments to be aware of.. that we the people, that's what we are demanding," said Shane Krauser.

Their goal is to get justice for Preston and stop this from happening to another innocent teen.

"As our hands as humans, we can both give life and take it away, so please think about what you choose to do with your hands, thank you," said Melissa Lord.

A lot of people who know the Lord family personally say they won't stop until they get justice.

On December 28, the Queen Creek Police Department confirmed charges were submitted to the Maricopa County Attorney against seven people related to the homicide investigation from October 28. QCPD said MCAO is reviewing the submitted charges.

The names of the seven individuals were not released.

"While charges have been submitted, the investigation continues and the public is encouraged to submit any new tips to https://p3tips.com/952. I want to reiterate that our focus continues to be getting justice for Preston Lord," said QCPD's Chief Randy Brice.

This is Queen Creek PD's first homicide investigation.