WASHINGTON — Fairfax County police have tentatively identified the body found in a park Friday morning as a 16-year-old who had been missing for two weeks.
Around 11 a.m. Friday, Fairfax County police officers discovered a body almost entirely covered by leaves and brush in a wooded area in Woodlawn Park, located in the 4800 block of Manor Drive in the Alexandria section of the county.
On Friday evening, police identified the body as Jholie Moussa who had been missing since Jan. 12. Detectives are investigating her death as a homicide and are pursuing leads.
The park is located less than a mile away from Moussa’s house where she had last been seen. The FBI joined police in her search last week after she had been reported as a “missing runaway juvenile.”
“We learned that she left on her own and there was no apparent sign of anything being wrong … she had left her home on her own,” said Fairfax County Police Department spokeswoman Julie Parker.
Police said they identified Moussa’s body based on her appearance and tattoos, and are waiting on the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner to positively identify the body forensically. The medical examiner will determine the cause and manner of death, which could come as early as Saturday.
Friday marked the second time police had searched the park for Moussa. The first time was a few days after Moussa was reported missing, Parker said.
“Detectives have been working this case since the moment it was reported to us,” Parker said, reiterating that in the course of the investigation, police spoke with about 20 people in contact with Moussa, some of whom were uncooperative.
“There has been an intense amount of work done by our detectives, and that work will continue as we are working the scene tonight and will throughout the weekend and until this apparent homicide is closed,” Parker said Friday night.
At a news conference earlier Friday, Parker said it’s not clear how long the body had been in the park.
Last year, Parker said, Fairfax County police investigated “more than 500 missing and runaway juveniles.”
Below is a map with the location of where the body was found:
WTOP’s Michelle Basch contributed to this report from Woodlawn Park.