Gang activity prompts search in Va. parks

WASHINGTON — The tangled web of gang activity that is blamed for a recent series of disappearances and killings has spurred police to search for human remains in two Northern Virginia parks.

Detectives from the Fairfax County Gang Investigations Unit were joined by homicide detectives, cadaver-sniffing dogs and a police search-and-rescue team in the search, which is centered on Holmes Run Park south of Bailey’s Crossroads in Lincolnia. That search will resume tomorrow morning.

Another search, conducted at Lemon Road Park in Falls Church, turned up no remains.

“We believe, preliminarily, that, yes, there may be a gang involvement in whatever event may have occurred,” said Lt. Brian Gaydos, spokesman for the Fairfax County Police Department.

A credible tip, Gaydos said, sparked the search, which could last days in sprawling Holmes Run Park.

“It’s a very large park in Fairfax County. If we’re going to comb the park, that could take anywhere from two, three, possibly four days,” Gaydos said.

Police do not identify gangs by name, out of concern that identifying them serves as publicity. But police said members of major national gangs are present in Northern Virginia, D.C. and suburban Maryland.

Two adults and three teenagers are charged with the gang-related killing of 15-year-old Damaris Reyes Rivas, whose body was found in Fairfax County last month.

Reyes Rivas’ mother has said her daughter had felt threatened by the gang MS-13.

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