(This article was updated at 9:05 p.m. with information that the girl is believed to be a South Lakes High School student, and again at 9:45 p.m. after police confirmed the girl was from Reston.)
Police say a body found this afternoon is likely that of a Reston teenager who went missing after an overnight activity in the Herndon area, and a Sterling man is in jail facing a murder charge.
Tawny Wright, spokesperson for the Fairfax County Police Deparment, said during a media briefing that officers responded at about 4 a.m. Sunday for a report of friends who couldn’t find a member of their group. Officers initiated a search for a 17-year-old girl in the area of Dranesville Road and Woodson Drive, near an unidentified facility the teens had left.
“Our investigation has determined that she was out walking with her friends when, for some reason, they got into a dispute with a man driving a car,” Wright said. “We’re looking into the details of exactly what happened, but for some reason, the man got out of the vehicle and he assaulted one of the group.”
Wright said the girl who was assaulted was the missing teenager, whom she did not identify. After a search that was assisted by the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office, the grisly discovery was made at about 3 p.m. Sunday.
“Remains of a female were found in a pond off of Ridgetop Circle,” Wright said. “Detectives unfortunately do believe that was our victim, but the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner will confirm the remains’ identity and determine the exact cause and manner of death.”
South Lakes High School sent an email Sunday evening saying it is believed the girl was a student there. Principal Kim Retzer wrote:
“Police are investigating the death of a teen who was reported missing earlier today. It’s believed that the missing teen is one of our students and while we await further news about this very sad incident, I would also ask that you refrain from engaging in rumor and speculation on social media about today’s events.
I wanted you to be aware of these developments and to inform you that we will have crisis counselors at the school beginning tomorrow morning. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victim’s family.”
A suspect in the case was arrested Sunday morning after being spotted “driving suspiciously” in the area of the girl’s disappearance. Darwin Martinez Torres, 22, of Sterling has been charged with murder in the case.
UPDATE: Suspect in Herndon missing teen investigation taken to jail. Darwin Martinez Torres, 22, of Sterling, has been charged with murder. pic.twitter.com/JGBxXmdqUf
— Fairfax Co. Police (@fairfaxpolice) June 18, 2017
The girl went missing very near to the All Dulles Area Muslim Society, leading to questions about whether the crime was bias-related. Wright said there “doesn’t seem to be an indication” of that, but “those are details that will come out.”
Numerous individuals on Twitter have connected the victim of the crime to the ADAMS Center.
My family and I are heartbroken over this tragedy. Our prayers go out to her family and the @ADAMSCenter_ community. https://t.co/EclwS1KPSP
— Jennifer Wexton (@JenniferWexton) June 18, 2017
Praying for family of victim of heinous murder in Sterling, and the entire ADAMS Center community. https://t.co/5KczDopcZW
— Ed Gillespie (@EdWGillespie) June 18, 2017
We stand with the @ADAMSCenter_ community in mourning the vile murder of a beautiful 17-year old girl. https://t.co/ODMIWRnJg7
— Barbara Comstock (@RepComstock) June 19, 2017
My heart is SO broken. Nabra was a local teen who was kidnapped and beaten to death near ADAMS Center. Ya Allah. 🙁https://t.co/oIyp5b9q1i
— Noor Tagouri (@NTagouri) June 18, 2017
This breaks my heart. @ADAMSCenter_ has always welcomed me like family. Let's surround community w/ love & support. https://t.co/BAFqW1BAZN
— Mark Herring (@MarkHerringVA) June 19, 2017
Mike Chapman, Loudoun County sheriff, said the situation is heart-breaking.
“I just can’t think of a worse instance to occur with the loss of a 17-year-old on Father’s Day,” Chapman said. “As the father of a 17-year-old myself, I can’t think of anything worse than confronting that.”
More details about this case will be provided as they become available.
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