An ex-boyfriend has been charged with murder in the killing of a 16-year-old Fairfax County girl who went missing in January and was found dead two weeks later in a park, prosecutors said Thursday.
The 18-year-old suspect was arrested Thursday in the slaying of Jholie Moussa, who lived in the Mount Vernon area, Fairfax County prosecutors said. He had recently been released after serving a sentence on a separate charge of strangling Moussa during an incident that occurred before her killing.
Moussa’s death was attributed to smothering and blunt-force trauma, police said Thursday.
The suspect, who was 17 at the time of Moussa’s death, is charged as a juvenile in the killing. Prosecutors said they probably would seek to move the case to adult court.
“We intend to pursue a first-
degree murder charge against him,” said Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney Raymond F. Morrogh. “We express our deepest regret to the family.”
Police are planning to hold a news conference on the arrest at 9 a.m. Friday. The suspect is scheduled to make an initial appearance in juvenile court in Fairfax County at 1:30 p.m. His family could not immediately be located for comment, and it was unclear whether he has an attorney.
Moussa was last seen leaving her home in the 4200 block of Sonia Court about 4:15 p.m. on Jan. 12, according to a post on Facebook by her mother. She told her sister that she would be right back but didn’t text again until about 8 p.m. to say she was going to a party in Norfolk. That was the last time her family heard from her.
Cyrille Moussa, Jholie’s father, later said in a TV interview that his daughter received a call on the day she went missing from the cellphone of a 12-year-old boy. The father said in the interview the boy later told him that a man asked to borrow the phone to place the call.
Moussa’s family reported her missing Jan. 13, police said. Her family did not return messages for comment on Thursday, but they had been critical of the county police’s efforts to find her in the past. Family members said police initially did not take seriously their belief that she was in danger.
Fairfax County police said that they had no indication the girl was in trouble at the outset and that they made every effort to find Moussa after she went missing, following leads as far away as Philadelphia.
“Every resource necessary has been and will be deployed,” Fairfax County police Maj. Rich Perez said at a January news conference.
Police discovered Moussa’s body a short distance from her home in the Mount Vernon area’s Woodlawn Park on Jan. 26. The body had been placed near some tennis courts and covered in leaves and debris. Police have not said how long Moussa’s body was in the park nor have they given any indication as to why she was killed.
During the investigation of Moussa’s disappearance, police uncovered the incident in which her ex-boyfriend had strangled her. He was arrested and later convicted in juvenile court in Fairfax County.
Clarence Williams contributed to this report.