ANGELES NATIONAL FOREST (AP/CBS8) - Authorities say a North County native whose remains were found near a shallow grave in the Angeles National Forest was beaten to death.
The Los Angeles Times says authorities identified him Wednesday as 25-year-old Nicholas Carter.
The Glendale resident, who had graduated from Carlsbad High School in 2005, vanished early this month.
Hikers later stumbled on a shallow grave in the Angeles National Forest near the foothill community of Sunland.
Carter's remains were found some 10 days later about a quarter of a mile from the grave site.
Sheriff's Lt. Mike Rosson says an autopsy concluded that Carter was beaten to death.
"He was more of a spirit than a person, more of an angel than a guy," said fellow Carlsbad High grad Heather Rushworth, who befriended Carter while both studied at Mira Costa College.
"It just doesn't make sense," Rushworth told News 8. "The way he was found runs in direct opposition to what (Nick) stood for as a person. That's not who he was: he was the most peaceful guy."
After Mira Costa College, Carter went on to graduate from UC Santa Cruz with a degree in business. Rushworth said he had dreamed of working in the entertainment industry.
"He had so much promise," she said. "And he never got to realize the full expression of his promise, which is what is really sad."
Investigators have no suspect or motive.