The body of a teenage girl who vanished two weeks ago has been found near her home in a Virginia suburb of Washington.
Jholie Moussa, 16, of Alexandria, was labeled a runaway when she disappeared early this year, until her body was found. Police in Virginia are now investigating a homicide, Kent Bailey, a Fairfax County police officer, said Monday.
An officer discovered Moussa’s body in a wooded area of Woodlawn Neighborhood Park, less than a mile from the teen’s home. The body was “almost entirely covered by leaves and brush,” Bailey said.
Moussa’s family reported her missing on Jan. 13, the day after she abruptly left home after Snapchatting with an unknown person, according to her mother, Syreeta Steward. Steward said last week that her daughter was last seen after the mysterious Snapchat session. She said she was stepping out and would be right back, according to the mom.
About 8 p.m. that night, Moussa’s twin sister, Zhane received an unusual text message from her sister saying she was heading to a party in Norfolk, Steward said. Norfolk is approximately 190 miles from Alexandria. The message was sent from Moussa’s phone, but it’s unclear whether it was Moussa who sent it, her mom said. Later that night, Steward missed a call from Moussa’s phone. Return calls and texts went unanswered.
Police labeled the teen a runaway juvenile, which angered her mother, who described Moussa as a 10th-grade honors student with no history of running away.
Police said they identified the body based its appearance, including a tattoo on the right shoulder. Moussa and her twin sister, Zhane, have matching tattoos of an infinity symbol with their names.
A cause of death has not yet been released. Police haven’t named any suspects or persons of interest.