09/05/2012 04:22 pm ET

Daniel Dean Way, Las Vegas Teen, Found Murdered In Desert With Hands Cut Off

Las Vegas police are searching for the killer of a 19-year-old who was found murdered in a desert area, his hands cut off at the wrist.

A woman walking her dog discovered the body of Daniel Dean Way on the morning of Aug. 17, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports.

Way was wearing only boxer shorts. His hands had been severed, and could not be located.

Photos Of Daniel Dean Way (story continues below) :

Photos of Daniel Dean Way

Investigators are attempting to locate a silver or gray late-model Chevrolet or GMC extended cab four-wheel drive pickup truck that was seen driving away from the area at around 4 a.m. on the morning Way's body was found. Police say the pickup has a raised suspension and loud exhaust, according to 8 News Now.

Valerie Ward, Way's mother, told the Daily Mail that the coroner had informed her that her son had been tortured prior to his death.

"Every time I asked to see [Way's] body," Ward told the paper, "the funeral director said, 'I wouldn't recommend it.' "

The coroner also reportedly noted that the crime appeared to be the result of a personal vendetta. Ward admitted that her son had run into trouble with the law, and that she suspected he may have been involved with a gang.

"He wanted to do the right thing... He was no angel," she said, "but he didn't deserve this."

Ward had more to say on the Facebook page for "R.I.P. Daniel Dean Way," a group set up in the teen's memory, writing that she had "desperately" tried to help her son for years.

"He was good til he went off meds," she wrote. "We did all we could."