Morgan Harrington Murder Breaking News: Virginia State Police To Fairfax Case

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Charlottesville, VA– According to sources inside the murder investigation of 20 year old Virginia Tech student Morgan Harrington, there has been a new development in her case.

Morgan with pup

Speaking on the condition of anonymity to, sources inside the investigation have confirmed Virginia State Police are preparing to announce a possible connection between Harrington’s murder, and the homicide of Vanessa Pham in Fairfax, VA.

However, late this morning, although blink editors attempted to confirm the reports in advance, Corrine Geller, PR Manager for VSP released a statement regarding a forensic connection to an unsolved case in 2005.

Therefore, blinkoncrime cannot confirm source reports Morgan’s case is connected to the recent homicide of Vanessa Pham, A Georgia Fashion Design student found stabbed in her upper torso after police initially believed she was the victim of a single vehicle car accident.


Pham was enroute to visit friends on Sunday afternoon at approximately 2:30PM ; by 3:30PM she was dead in a ditch.

Vanessa’s whiteScion had been traveling the wrong way down an access road, hopped the curb and ended up in a ravine. Although police had no indication she was not driving the vehicle, it was later discovered that she was deceased prior to the crash.

Anyone with information concerning the death of Vanessa Pham is asked to contact Crime Solvers at 1-866-411-8477. editor Madeline Tanner contributed to this report

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  1. katie says:

    Here is the latest news on Vanessa Pham:

    This goes to my theory, at least in part, that Vanessa was attacked in a parking lot. The police “believed” someone jumped into her car at a light. Now we hear that at 3:09 she was updating her facebook from her mobile phone. We also know she was at a nail salon just 1/4 of a mile, at most from where, 24 minutes later she was dead in the car which rolled down the short one-way service road and flipped over the curb and laid to rest in a clump of brush/bushes and small trees.

    Just feet behind the wooded/brushy area where here car came to rest is a very desolate strip of road, Willow Corporate Drive. Once halfway down this bit of road you are completely hidden from the view of any road, building or person. There is an unpaved but tire worn path that goes directly into the dense wooded area that finally abuts to the back of a home/center for cancer treatment patients. But on all sides of this dense wooded area you can see nothing except through the brush. Only when passing down the wooded road can one see the worn unpaved path that goes down through the center of this secluded few acres of land.

    Six months ago, Fairfax County 911 responded to a call for a car on fire. When they arrived they found a woman dead in the car. This location is about 40-60 feet away from where Vanessa was found. In this case the police did not rule out foul play but said the car was intentionally set on fire probably by the victim as a method of suicide! I find this ridiculous and can only pray that they see the similarities.


  2. Word Girl says:

    Thanks, Kate, for the on-the-scene info. It helps so much when locals can be our eyes and ears.

  3. Word Girl says:


  4. lizzy says:

    You mean that was at the SAME PLACE? FORTY to SIXTY feet away? ARE YOU SURE?

    Sorry for yelling, but why did they assume she set herself on fire? How many women commit suicide by setting their cars on fire intentionally?

    (Note to Blink: Not to dispute your sources that this case was perhaps related to Morgan, but maybe they got their case connection wires crossed? Maybe Vanessa was connected to Verena, not to Morgan?)

    This CANNOT be a coincidence, can it?

  5. lizzy says:

    I took another break from my writing, and mapped the two locations. Katie is absolutely correct; although described differently, the two addresses (8200 Willow Oaks Drive and the south side of the Williams Drive and Arlington Blvd intersection) are almost identical.

    I wonder if there is security stationed ’round there?

  6. lizzy says:

    At most, these 2 incidents seem to be 500 feet apart, they could well have been closer.

    Fairfax Plaza, where Vanessa was shortly before, is only a couple of thousand feet north, on the other side of the middle school.

  7. katie says:

    There is a Homestead Suites within a few 100 yards!

  8. katie says:

    With another person, of course i drove through there yesterday…st nearly the same time of day and on a Sunday. The place was frighteningly desolate and even i, who travels past the crash scene several times a week…didn’t even know this place was there. It was very unsettling to see how close, in proximity, the two car deaths really were. I want to call FFX CO LE again but I am afraid they will question my interest…as in think I am just a Nervous Nelly or rubber-necker. My passenger said, “I’ll call it in if you don’t want to.” She made me drive the circumference of the location two times and I tell you I was scared sh!tless to be back there. On Sunday, even when you get out from between the two wooded areas there is no one in sight. I did see an Asphalt truck with Maryland tags parked the wrong way near the end of Williams Drive. There was also a white middle-aged, white haired man on his cell phone in one of the building parking lots (West side of Williams) and just before the house at the end of the street. My passenger noticed a sign noting that that was the Life with Cancer home. Just scary back there.

  9. katie says:

    The distance between the two crime scenes is extremely close. All you have to do is walk the length of two residential yards, through the thick brush, next to Vanessa’s car and you are on that desolate paved part of Willow Oaks Corporate Drive. Verena Stutts’ car was found just up from the center where the unpaved road or “maintenance roadway” cuts, north to south,through the center of the thickest part of the wooded area. This area is justto the South of where Vanessa’s car was found flipped, just on the other side (Rt 50 side)of the other wooded area (North side). The desolate road (Willow Oaks Corp. Dr)cuts between where Vanessa’s car was found and it is the roadway where Ms Stutts car was found. It is unclear which end, East or West end of Willow Corporate Drive, Ms Tutt’s car was found burning. I’m not sure if it was closer to the businesses (Kaiser Permanente &Homestead Suites)or right where it ends at Williams Dr. No matter what, the two scenes are a stones throw away from each other.

  10. katie says:

    Whoever did this to Vanessa, did it all in the space of 25 MINUTES! Just sitting at the series of lights at Gallows/Rt 50 can take nearly five minutes on any day.

    She had a two to three minute brow waxing at the nail salon around 3:00 PM, apparently updated her Facebook from her mobile phone at 3:09 PM (possibly in her car in the parking lot as it would seem nearly impossible to do that while having your brows waxed) and the “crash” was reported at 3:24! She was declared DOA at the scene. The fire department is less than a mile West on Rt 50.

    Yep. Cell Phone recovered?

  11. lizzy says:

    Boy, this one has made me think. It just seems like a uniform must be involved.

    I had a long drive with my kids through a fairly desolate area last night. And I kept thinking: what would I do if a policeman tried to pull me over?

    So what IS the right answer? Can you call 911 to say you’re being pulled over and have it checked out? Pull over first, and then call? Pray?

    This really brought up some old fears that got a little too close for comfort. A private contractor we had hired to do some work for us was arrested on a number of charges shortly thereafter, including impersonating a park ranger for purposes of initiating sexual assault. Shook me up. My spouse had hired him, and he hadn’t set off his hinky meter one bit.

    I have a story. (shocker, I know)

    One morning about 10 years ago, I was ripping up 287 on my way to work. For those unfamiliar it is quite morning war zone just before it hits the Route 80 turnoff for NYC commuters for the area.

    Anyway, I am aware of a dark colored ( not crown victoria, lol) sedan following me from behind closely, it unnerves me so I change lanes, then he is neck and neck with me, etc.

    I become concerned I am being followed so speed up changing lanes, etc, because I am approaching my exit, and I did not want him to know where I was headed. At any rate, this guy is on my azz like we are filming a scene from Dark Knight.

    After about 2 minutes of this, I see what I think is blinking lights on the bottom of his visors, for the first time, but am not sure because it is very bright sun. I grab the phone while careening in and out of lanes and call 911 saying I am being followed and realized it may now be a cop. It definitely was.

    I was advised to pull off at the next exist, where the 3 other troopers were waiting as back up.

    I got out of my car, in my stillettos, and proceeded to rant about how effing scared I was, there is no way anyone would know that guy was a cop, no siren, can’t see the light and I was never speeding until he was up my azz and thought he was a vehicular stalker of some kind. As a female alone in my car, they could arrest me before I am stopping for that set up.

    To their credit, they actually agreed with me, but that 4 cop cars for a stop at a minimum necessitated a warning, which I got, for talking on my phone while driving, lol.

    I have another one that happened to a friend of mine where she ran over a cops foot, also stopped by an unmarked car, but I am not allowed to tell it anymore :)

    Lesson: You have the right to call 911 if anyone is pulling you over to confirm the individual is LE. If your in a position to do that, and you do not wish to pull over until you receive confirmation, than reduce your speed, turn on your hazards, and make your call. The dispatch will automatically convey that info to the officer, and you will not be faulted for it.

  12. lizzy says:

    Blink, Thank you for sharing both the valuable info and the story. Although the right to call 911 first, when it is illegal to talk while driving is priceless. Shouldn’t there be an exception to that law for 911? Seriously. But certainly a small price to pay.

    Lol. I know, right.

  13. lizzy says:

    Can’t believe that LE or the local media don’t seem to have mentioned this “coincidence” yet! I wonder if Verena’s family has made the location connection? Or was there a reason for them to accept the suicide theory?

  14. acapella says:

    I cannot believe the short time span…she updated her Facebook at 3:09 and was discovered in her car by 3:24…that is only 15 minutes…WTH??? and in broad daylight. I also noticed in the Hook article which provides greater detail regarding the 2005 assault linked to Morgan’s case…she (the victim) was turning into her friend’s complex at 10:00 pm and by 10:30 pm a neighbor reports coming home to 8 cop cars and an ambulence attending the victim….all in one half hour! It just boogles the mind how quickly something like this can happen.

  15. katie says:

    I’m not sure but perhaps the police have a reason for suggesting that someone got into Vanessa’s car at one of the nearby stoplights. I drove by the shopping center (with the Nail Salon/Fairfax Plaza) and there are high mounds of construction dirt at the top end (East end) of the parking lot parallel to Gallows Road. Perhaps, they know that she left the parking lot without incidence…re: maybe there is parking lot camera surveillance that showed that. Then it is really unnerving. It probably couldn’t be a fake cop because cops don’t get in and make you drive away. It’s possible he walked or road a bike to the area near the shopping mall and flagged her down under some rouse.

  16. Lisa says:

    look at the pic and location-mean anything to the Harrington case?

    Virginia rape suspect linked to Zion murders
    July 7, 2010 8:53 PM | No Comments
    ARLINGTON, Va. — A young woman who was raped, choked with her own scarf and left for dead in a remote wooded area outside Washington, D.C., staggered to a nearby road and flagged down help.

    After she provided crucial details about the attack this year, police traced a license plate number to a man whose SUV contained the rape victim’s identification, an earring she lost in the attack and the cord of an iron used to bind her, according to court records.

    That man, Jorge “George” Torrez, a former U.S. Marine being held in an Arlington, Va., jail, is now being investigated in the 2005 murders of two Zion girls after his DNA matched evidence found on one of the children, according to his sister, Sara Torrez.

    The DNA match, discovered by Lake County prosecutors through a national DNA database June 25, has prompted a new investigation into the murders of Laura Hobbs, 8, and playmate Krystal Tobias, 9, who were found beaten and stabbed in Zion’s Beulah Park.

    The DNA evidence could mean exoneration for Laura’s father, Jerry Hobbs, 39, who has been imprisoned for five years in Lake County jail based on a confession that he later said was coerced by police, said Keith Grant, his public defender.

    “We believed from the inception of this case that Jerry Hobbs is innocent,” said Grant, describing a father who has not been allowed to grieve his daughter’s death. “Our job is to see our client, Jerry Hobbs, is cleared of a crime he did not commit.”

    Hobbs appeared Wednesday in Lake County court in Waukegan, where a judge approved the prosecution’s request for two more weeks to investigate the recent evidence. Semen found in Laura’s body and on her skirt did not match Hobbs’ DNA, but matches that of another man in custody, said Jeff Pavletic, first assistant state’s attorney.

    Pavletic declined to confirm that man is Torrez.

    “I have been in daily contact, sometimes hourly contact, with the defense,” said Pavletic, assuring Judge Fred Foreman that the state is putting forth a good-faith effort to find the perpetrator.

    Meanwhile, investigators scrambled to interview new and former witnesses in the case, including the family of Torrez, whose home was searched a week ago, said Sara Torrez, 25.

    Jorge Torrez, 21, attended Zion-Benton Township High School before he joined the Marines in 2006. He now faces charges of firearms violations, abduction, rape, sodomy, robbery and burglary stemming from two separate incidents, Virginia court records show.

    Torrez was charged with trying to abduct and rob a 25-year-old woman as she walked home after midnight Feb. 10 in Arlington, according to court records. Armed with a handgun and a knife, Torrez ordered the woman to get into his Dodge Durango SUV, but she tossed her purse to the ground and escaped, authorities said.

    Torrez also is charged with committing a second, more atrocious crime two weeks later.

    About 3:30 a.m. Feb. 27, Torrez was armed with a handgun when he approached two 23-year-old women as they walked home from a meal in Arlington, authorities said. He robbed the women and forced them into a house where one of them lived, where he tied them up, authorities said.

    One woman called 911 when Torrez left the room, but he returned and ended the call, becoming “visibly angry,” according to court records.

    Authorities said Torrez grabbed the woman who tried to call police and made her lie on the back seat of his SUV during what authorities described as a “ride of terror.” They said he drove the woman, who was bound with the cord of a clothes iron, to a wooded rural area in Prince William County, raping her before and after they arrived.

    In what authorities called a “final act of cruelty,” Torrez allegedly took the woman’s scarf and choked her until “he thought she was dead” before fleeing in the SUV, court records state.

    But the woman managed to flag down a driver even though she was “close to death,” said Detective Crystal Nosal of the Arlington County police.

    “I don’t know who came upon her, but thank God that they did,” Nosal said.

    The woman’s account led police to Torrez, authorities said. Two officers heard about the alleged role of the Dodge Durango. In a “flash of memory,” one of them recalled seeing the vehicle driving slowly in the middle of a snowstorm weeks before.

    The officers recalled they had run the vehicle’s license plates, and they were able to search records for the plates they had checked, authorities said.

    The plates “came back to the defendant’s car,” records show. The victim who escaped earlier in February picked him out of a photo spread, according to records.

    Torrez was arrested the evening of Feb. 27 and later charged with both of the February attacks.

    Held without bond in the Arlington County Detention Facility, Torrez spends most of the day alone in a cell, segregated from other inmates because he is charged with “high-profile” violent crimes, said Maj. Susie Doyel of the Arlington County Sheriff’s Office.

    Torrez’ lawyer, Andrew Stewart, declined to comment.

    Sara Torrez and her parents, who live a few blocks from the victims, maintain that Jorge Torrez is innocent. She said she was “outraged” that police are investigating him for the Zion murders. She said she does not recall police questioning her brother or giving any indication he was a suspect in the murders in 2005.

    Her brother was eager to join the Marines after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, she said.

    Torrez, a corporal who began working as an administrative clerk at the Pentagon on April 13, 2009, was discharged from the Marines on April 23, 2010, according to Marine Capt. Brian Block. He declined to describe the nature of his discharge.

    When he lived in Zion, Torrez was friends with Krystal Tobias’ older brother, Alberto Segura, 20, Sara Torrez said.

    Segura of Beach Park described Torrez as one of his best friends.

    “It’s horrible,” he said. “He’s not that type of person you would think would do something like this.”

    Ruth Fuller contributed to this story.

    – Katherine Skiba, Lisa Black and Dan Hinkel

    article link

  17. katie says:

    Fairfax County police have ruled out a connection between the Pham and Harrington cases but they say they have not ruled out the case of Alicia Showalter Reynolds nor the 29 Stalker cases. They neglected to mention the Verena Stutts case!

  18. katie says:

    Oops, here is a link re: There is no connection Pham and Harrington cases:

  19. katie says:

    At the risk of looking like the local Nervous Nelly I sent an email to Fairfax County Police. I just had to say something…this case is so disturbing. Here is the contents of my email.
    I am a single woman who lives, works and shops in the Vienna/Merrifield area. I am extremely concerned for my safety as well as that of my 23 year old daughter who visits the area. We both frequent the businesses along Gallows Rd (The Mr Wash, the large gas station in front of Sweet Waters Grill, McDonald’s, etc. My job requires me to be in this area nearly everyday. I have thought about this case since it was aired on the news. Here are some of my concerns:

    I am Concerned that Vanessa Pham’s is connected to another recent suspicious death near Williams Dr and Rt 50.

    On Sunday, November 22, 2009, Fairfax County Fire and Rescue responded to a vehicle fire on Willow Oaks Corporate Drive. When they arrived, just like in Vanessa Pham’s case, they found a woman dead in the car. Verena Stutts, of Annandale was identified as the woman in the burning car. In Vanessa’s case it was also a Sunday and 911 responded to what was originally thought to be a single car crash.

    The location of Ms Stutts car was, at most, a mere few hundred yards from where Vanessa Pham’s car came to rest in the overgrown ditch. Ms Stutts car was found just on the other side of that same wooded area, on Willow Oaks Corporate Drive. News reports, from November 23, 2009 suggest that the police believed it may have been a suicide. I can’t imagine a woman driving to such a desolate place at night even if she were suicidal…no less attempting to commit suicide by setting her own car on fire. It just doesn’t seem plausible. I hope the Fairfax County Police will take another look at Ms Stutts case and begin the process of re-investigating. Maybe Ms. Stutts was accosted, like Vanessa Pham, in a nearby parking lot as well.

    I am thankful that the Fairfax County Police have cleared up the misinformation that this case might have related to the Morgan Harrington case yet I am worried that woman traveling through and around Merrifield may be in danger.

    OTHER VIDEO FOOTAGE…has it been checked?

    The logical route to end up near southbound Willams Drive and eastbound Rt 50 would have taken her passed several businesses that may show her car passing along Gallows to the South and then on westbound toward Williams and Rt 50. There are probably cameras that face the roadways at McDonald’s, Mr Wash car wash, the gas Station next to Luther Jackson Middle School and maybe even at the middle school. There is a Wendy’s that actually faces the location where her car ended up. Perhaps those location/cameras could show if the person was in the car…less obstructed view or reflections on her windows and different sunlight angles. This case is a nightmare.

  20. Local says:

    This is quite sad. I work 100ft – 200ft from that site of the car burning and drive down that rd every afternoon to get on rt 50. The Pham incident I think happen on the rt50 side and not on the secluded cut through st side. There is a entrance to a medical building that has a one way entrance, I believe this is where he car was found overturned.
    Anyone else have sources on this. I have been looking into it heavily after I was told of the incident by a coworker.

  21. Local says:

    on willow oaks corporate dr ill add

  22. lizzy says:

    katie, Good job on sending the e-mail. I certainly hope it gets into the right hands.

    Local, keep your gift of fear out and in your passenger seat.

  23. Olivia says:

    Is everyone aware of this?

    Southwest Virginia:
    The body of a woman was found in a field near Ridgeway Thursday morning. Henry County investigators are treating the case as a homicide until they can determine a cause of death.

    Investigators say the remains of an adult woman were found around 8:00 Thursday morning by a work crew. The remains were in a field off Old Mill Road.

    Henry County authorities say the do not have any active missing persons cases that would be related. They’re also checking for cases in Rockingham County and Eden, North Carolina.

    The remains have been sent to the Medical Examiners Office to determine the cause of death.

  24. Olivia says:

    Regarding Pham’s murder: How does LE already know that there is no connection to Harrington’s death and the 2005 victim? It seems very soon to make that call–I guess there is no DNA or forensic match but still it seems like a very fast call.

    There is a 45 day backlog at the FBI lab and a 6-9 month at the State Police Lab. They have no DNA back in this case. They said they have found no connection between the two. With or without forensic confirmation that may be the case.

  25. Olivia says:

    And I’m with Katie and others on the clear possibility of a link between Pham and Stutts. If no connection is explored by LE something’s wrong with the system, and if no connection is found, the coincidence (location, dead woman in a car) is bizarre.

  26. katie says:

    @ Local & Lizzy – This case has me jumping at any noise begind me. I am nerve racked. Yesterday,I drove around Gatehouse Rd which connects to Williams Drive and is directly across Rt 50, to the North, from the site where Vanessa’s car was found. I was looking for cameras that may have caught her car moving toward Willow Oaks Corporate Drive. Finally, I stopped at the large gas station across from the Middle school. I went in to buy gum but really to see if I could see there monitors and if they can see the roadway in front. I asked the manager if their cameras faced the street, he said they do. I then asked if the camera might have caught a glimps of Vanessa’s car. He assured me that the Police looked at their footage and that they are going with the theory that it is one of the transients that lives in these wooded areas.

    I am so scared. I have to pass this area almost daily and I work outside within a 1/4 of a mile from the murder. It is so difficult to always be careful…there is almost no way to always be alert. There are always distractions that prevent us from being 100% alert. We shouldn’t have to worry about these things!

    I decided to do a few searches around possible other crimes in that specific area. This is all I have found so far:
    Other crimes:
    8200 Block Willow Oaks Corporate Drive
    *On Saturday, January 20, 2007 around 10:30 p.m., the 32-year-old Fairfax-area man working at the front desk at the Homestead Suites at 8281 Willow Oaks Corporate Drive was robbed. A man entered the lobby and brandished a gun at the clerk, demanding money. The victim complied, and the suspect fled with an undisclosed amount of money. The victim was not injured. The suspect was described as black, about 35 years old. He was 5 feet 10 inches tall, weighing 180 pounds. He wore a black, hooded sweatshirt, dark pants, a dark ball cap and an orange, construction-type traffic vest.

    Willow Oaks Corporate Drive 8200. GPS system stolen from vehicle . Dec 2007

    I find this orange construction-type traffic vest very interesting. I have a gut feeling that Vanessa’s murderer is a construction worker. Construction workers have been in the surrounding streets for the better part of the year and were definitely at Gallows/50/I-495 and Gallows & Rt 29 since at least November; when Ms Stutts car was found burning with her dead inside.

    The entire lot behind the Fairfax Plaza Shopping Center has been plowed clear to make way for a Merrifield Roads Improvement. There are construction workers everywhere in that one square mile area around the shopping center and the “crash” site. Just saying, the odds are higher that it is a transient construction worker, possibly staying at Homestead Suites on Willow Oaks Corp Dr, than one of a few homeless men living in a wooded area.

  27. Olivia says:

    B, I see what you’re saying.

  28. deetee says:

    **trying to keep venessa pham in this thread, and morgan in the other sketch thread**

    i haven’t seen the VP video links of the surveillance cams here, so here:

    having seen it, i think whomever killed vanessa, got in her car in the lot. i agree with the comments that she could have pulled out of the lot at least on several occasions, but something was distracting her. ten minutes later she was dead.

    i stated in the other thread that i thought someone went through a painstaking measure to stage an accident to make it look like she died in an accident, but i doubt this having seen this surveillance video.

    kudos to the approach of LE here. they are getting key info to the public quickly. i have a good feeling that this case will be resolved in short order.

  29. katie says:

    I am hoping and praying that FFX CO Police detectives see what B and others of us see re: the white van, umbrella person and the looking out guy on front fender of the SUV. I also hope and believe that they have some very valuable images of the actual parking space where Vanessa’s car sat while she went into the nail salon and that they are trying to hold some of their cards so as to allow LE to find this BAND OF PEOPLE that seems to have no plausible reason for presence there or their odd parking lot behavior.

    I’m wondering if Vanessa was instructed to wait at that stop sign b/c perp wanted his/her friends to tail them to a more remote location and of course he/she would have a ride and perhaps a change of clothes. I am certain that he/she must have been covered in blood. If the car was the goal and Vanessa “got in the way”, they couldn’t risk taking the car as it must also have been covered in blood. I apologize for the graphic details but it does seem like this might be a car theft ring.

    In October 2007, Fairfax County Police arrested three men, part of a car theft ring, in MERRIFIELD. Maybe others from this group decided it had been long enough and they could start back up in the Merrifield area.

    Here is a link to the 2007 Car theft Ring case:

    …A ten-month investigation by police has led to the arrest of three men, charged for their alleged involvement in an auto theft operation. Detectives learned of the ring in November 2006. During the course of the investigation, undercover officers were able to purchase four brand new vehicles from the suspects; all four vehicles were previously stolen. The vehicles, an Infiniti FS35, an Infiniti G35X and two Nissan Muranos, were valued at approximately $35,000 – $40,000 each.

    On Thursday, September 20, all three men were arrested during a traffic stop in the Merrifield area. Johel Astacio, 26, of 4514 Commons Drive #202 in Annandale, was charged with three counts of grand larceny and three counts of possessing stolen property. Ervin Calderon-Mantancio, 26, of 4020 Ivanhoe Lane in Alexandria, was charged with obtaining money by false pretense, distribution of stolen property and grand larceny. Cesar Isabel, 27, of 7333 New Hampshire Avenue #1002 in Tacoma Park, Maryland was charged with three counts of obtaining money by false pretense. All three were transported to the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center…

  30. katie says:

    From the 2007 case:
    It appears that at least two of these defendants, Astacio and Calderon-Mantancio were walking around Fairfax County free to continue to commit other crimes and to fail to appear for these new offenses. One has a pending hearing in FFX Co on July 14th.

    Most if not all of the charges brought against these two, in the 2007 Car Theft Ring. were nolle’d (set aside.)

    As far as the Cesar Isabel guy goes, it is unclear if he was convicted and serving time. I believe that citizens have to pay to see the Circuit Court records on the “final disposition”, for the 2007 charges, on all three of these men. I can find no follow-up news reports suggesting that any of them went to prison for this car theft ring. But I can see from arrests, in FFX Co, that both Astacio and Calderon-Mantancio were/may not be in jail at the time of Vanessa Pham’s Murder.

    In October or November of 2009,several news sources reported that the Fairfax Co. Police worked with the Port Of Baltimore and the FBI to break up another Theft Ring (this time Motorcycles hidden in Salvage Vehicles going to Bolivia)yet I can’t find any of the names/reported anywhere for any of the criminals associated with this sting.

    The Town of Herndon which is within Fairfax County’s jurisdiction also has a Car Theft Squad so obviously there is an organized effort to stop these ORGANIZED THEFT RINGS. After really, scouring that video, I fear Vanessa inadvertently fell prey to some such Auto Theft Ring.
    Here is a link to the 2007 Car theft Ring case:

  31. Minnie Penney says:

    All the mentions of Fairfax County are bringing back many childhood memories – I grew up in Falls Church – rodes horses in Merrifield and remember a terrible murder of a family from VA that had all of the DC area scared – men and women. January 1959. Carroll and Mildred Jackson and their two young daughters just disappeared on a family outing. Blink, I bet you’ve read about this case – it has been included in several books on serial killers – the perp was Melvin Rees. My father and his Pentagon buddies even quit their Thursday night poker games – people were afraid to drive at night – there were stories of meeting an oncoming car with bright headlights on wooded area roads, trying to run them off the road. The Jackson’s car was found abandoned on a winding wooded road in Maryland. Not far away Mr Jackson and the youngest daughter were found in a shallow grave – headshot killed Mr Jackson and the youngest daughter was put in a shallow grave and her dead father was thrown on top of her, smothering her to death. Some weeks later, Mrs Jackson and the older daughter were found in a shallow grave. Both had been raped. Melvin Rees was eventually caught and executed. But for awhile he had the whole DC metro area on edge.

  32. Tom Freund says:

    Is there any knowledge of what Verena Stutts did that day prior to her incident? Perhaps did she visit Fairfax Plaza? I am wondering if there are any links.

  33. Sam says:

    Uh oh… a body found in a burned car here in San Diego…,0,2335219.story

  34. Mom3.0 says:

    Minnie Penney-

    Thank you for sharing that story. I had not heard of Melvin Rees. So I did some research- He was a very twisted serial killer.

    He attacked two young people in lovers lane, and executed the young woman then raped her,the man got away.

    Rees was accused of brutally raping a woman who later refused to testify in court. So Rees walked free. He was later arrested and found guilty of murdering the Jackson family. The children were 5 and 18 mnths. Rees- abducted the family by gun point as they were leisurely driving in the country. He shot the father execution style, threw the baby in a makeshift grave, alive, and crushed her with the weight of her dead father’s body- he left with the mother and 5 year old after burying the baby and father.

    The bodies of the mother and 5 year old were later found showing signs of brutal beatings and rape. He was captured after the police received an anonymous letter telling them that Rees had confessed to the killing while under the influence of drug and drink.

    It was later found that Rees had raped and killed at least 4 young women during his life. He confessed to two while incarcerated.

    None of his friends suspected him. But thought him strange and dark. He traveled all over because he was an avid musician and played many instruments in a jazz band. He is suspected to have attacked and killed many women in many states.

    Blink, or anyone, do you think someone in Virginia could be trying to live up to Rees, or at least taking a couple of plays from his playbook? I shutter at the thought.

    One thing is for certain, there could be a lapse between rapes/murders because of traveling- perhaps in a band or for work?

  35. Mom3.0 says:

    Late last night,early morning I was shocked to see a front page Yahoo story on Vanessa Pham

    “Vanessa Pham Murder Mystery Continues”

    Fairfax County police are asking for your help in finding a suspect.

    I was shocked to see that the story was off the front page almost as fast as it appeared. How will they ever get any leads if this story does not get any coverage? Thank you Blink & team, for bringing Vanessa’s story to our attention. I hope someone will come forward with some much needed information, soon.

    I would like to offer my condolences to Vanessa’s mother and her family. Vanessa was her mother’s pride and joy, she was an only child. RIP Vanessa

  36. Mom3.0 says:

    I posted this earlier somehow it was lost-

    Late last night,early morning I was shocked to see a front page Yahoo story on Vanessa Pham

    “Vanessa Pham Murder Mystery Continues”

    Fairfax County police are asking for your help in finding a suspect.

    I realized that the story was off the front page almost as fast as it appeared. How will they ever get any leads if this story does not get any coverage? Thank you Blink & team, for bringing Vanessa’s story to our attention. I hope someone will come forward with some much needed information, soon.

    I would like to offer my condolences to Vanessa’s mother and her family. Vanessa was her mother’s pride and joy, she was an only child. RIP Vanessa

  37. Edward says:

    This was an attempted car jacking. mo.
    When he stabbed her he changed his plan and disposed of her with her car.
    He prolly wore gloves and is some form of professional or has done this before.

  38. Katie says:

    Edward, I tend to agree with you. Yesterday, on News4 Washington, there was a retired detective that theorizes that this was someone she knew who got into her car, probably a woman, he said, and he suggests that possibly an argument ensued at the stop sign.

    I can believe a woman got into the car and that a woman stabbed her but, like you, I believe she had the model car they were looking for at the time they were looking to grab one. They just didn’t expect that she would go into a salon for only 3-5 minutes.

    As to the argument about why kill her and not take the car: The inside of the car had to be covered in blood and he/she/they now had a dead body in it… Hence pretty useless to a car thief. Blood had to be all over this person as well. Small car and small space, IMO.

    This murder has the feeling of an organized ring and FFX Co police, with agents from ICE, broke up another organized theft ring just in the past few days. It is my opinion, after studying the car thefts throughout the vicinity of Falls Church, Vienna, Merrifield, Fair Oaks, West Springfield and Annandale, that this is an organized group with a list of sorts of cars to get. The most common thefts in the last two months include, Honda Civic and Accord, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Ford F250 and 350, lots of FORD AND DODGE VANS, Toyota Corollas, Pathfinders and Tacomas and of all things Subaru Legacies. There were a couple BMW 325i’s and Mercedes Benz as well as one Bentley but mainly they are all in the more affordable price ranges. Common cars that are easy to hide in plain sight! If I were a betting girl I would say that many of the stolen cars in these FFX Co areas are either Black, White or Silver. Nothing obvious. The crime reports don’t give the details though.

  39. Katie says:

    Here is a link to yesterday’s interview with the retired Montgomery Co., Md detective. Some good points yet I still feel she was the victim of a planned yet car specific targeted theft.

  40. Katie says:

    “yet I still feel she was the victim of a planned yet car specific targeted theft.”

    As opposed to a victim-specific target.

  41. Tom Freund says:

    I have a theory which makes the most sense to me based on everything I’ve read. I have a long version, which explains how I believe this all played out. However for now, I will just give the short version.

    My theory is that the killer is a female friend of Vanessa that had a romantic interest in her. The friend was in Vanessa’s car the whole time the car was in the parking lot. There was casual conversation about Vanessa’s new boyfriend and his pending visit in the upcoming week, which then escalated into a more emotional argument.

    My theory is that this other person premeditated this murder and had everything planned and waiting. It was just a matter of waiting to see if she could persuade Vanessa one last time. This friend may even have been the person Vanessa went to see at 2:30pm, but apparently wasn’t home (perfect alibi??).

    Anyway, I would be willing to provide a longer version which supports my theory should anyone be interested. It’s just too much to type while I’m at work.

  42. katie says:

    My problem with this acquaintance/friend attacker is this:
    The location where Vanessa’s car ended up, going the wrong way on a dead end service road, is really out of the way. Even traveling the “right way”, as in East bound on Rt 50/Arlington Blvd, it is VERY hard to see this ramp and it is very easy to miss the exit unto this service road. If one does miss it they then have to go up the ramp to Gallows, turn left onto Gallows and then left on Rt 50 and then make a U-turn at Williams or a left at Williams and then a left onto the secluded Willow Oaks Corporate Drive, go through the parking lot and turn left to go the wrong way down this service road.

    This is not a well known roadway. It really only goes to the one small Medical Building (relatively small as opposed to the very large facilities just across Rt 50) which is half way up the hill towards Gallows Road. I just think that very few people even know it is there. I just don’t see a 19 year old thinking of that spot. Unless of course he/she works in that building.

    Most people who want to go to any of the other businesses that are nearby would probably just take either of the two larger roads (Williams Dr or Gallows Road.) Only people who work back there probably know about the secluded area just south of the service road. That of course is where Verena Stutts’ car was found on fire, in November, with her dead body in it. Just saying, I believe someone knew about this road and that the actual attack most likely occured in the wooded section of the secluded Willow Oaks Corporate Drive. Then, it would seem that Vanessa tried to get out onto Rt 60 and try to drive to Fairfax Hospital…which was really less than a 1/4 of a mile away on gallows Rd.

  43. katie says:

    “Rt 50 and try to drive to Fairfax Hospital…which was really less than a 1/4 of a mile away on Gallows Rd”

    One thing that may have occurred:
    Vanessa, in a confused state, may have turned right, off of Gallows, onto Willow Oaks Corporate Drive thinking she was turning to go into the Emergency Room Entrance of the Hospital. The two roadways are VERY CLOSE to each other.

  44. katie says:

    “Rt 50 and try to drive to Fairfax Hospital…which was really less than a 1/4 of a mile away on Gallows Rd”

  45. Tom says:

    katie, I think Vanessa likely would know those roads. She is a 19 year old, true, but she is a 19 year old that has lived her entire life within one mile of the crash scene. She probably takes Williams Drive on a daily basis to get home.

    In terms of friend/acquaintance attacker vs unknown attacker, there is a blog entry on the Washington Post website that is noteworthy. There is a man whose wife is friends with Vanessa’s mother. He states that his wife was told by Vanessa’s mother that Vanessa was not just stabbed, but that there was also disfigurement. He wouldn’t go into details, but the general idea was that the attacker went the extra mile to make Vanessa appear unattractive. What comes to mind is somebody trying to make a statement like “If I can’t have you, then nobody can.” I can only imagine this being done by a friend/acquaintance.

    Also, I don’t think Vanessa felt her life was in danger when she was leaving Fairfax Plaza. Public safety rule #1 is to not leave the safety of crowds when you feel threatened. If she felt threatened, she could have tried to make a scene right there at the exit to gain attention and try to scare off the attacker. However, after that long pause, she then made the right-hand turn and continued down Gallows. Most likely there was something going on in the car during that pause, but I think it was more like an argument or heated discussion to which Vanessa probably said “Look, let’s get out of traffic and go somewhere that we can discuss this.”

    The timeline of events indicates that she was still in Fairfax Plaza for 15-20 minutes after leaving the nail salon. During which time, she made an entry to her facebook page appearing to be under no stress. If she was with anybody during that time, I would think it would have to be somebody she knows.

  46. Katie says:

    That is very disturbing and heart-breaking…still, it could have been a male who wanted to mean more to her…

  47. Katie says:

    Here is the the big question: How did the attacker leave the area?

  48. Tom says:

    How did the attacker leave the area? Yep, good question. I would think the person would need help. If the person walked from the scene, it would have to be fast because authorities were supposedly there within 10 minutes; the person may have needed a change of clothes and a place to discard the crime tools; also if the person walked away there is the risk of K-9 tracking. It all would lead me to believe that the person left by car and that there was help or atleast a get away car stashed in wait.

    The theory I came up with a couple days ago provides a possible answer, IMO ofcourse. If you look at Vanessa’s background, what you see is a large group of female friends from high school. They seem to be a very close-knit group. In fact some of the friendships began in elementary school. From what I have read, these girls have had slumber parties and sleepovers on a regular basis. They seemed to have alot of fun with this. They would plan ahead of time what foods to prepare and what events they would have lined up, etc. There’s not much mentioned in the way of boys. I read that Vanessa did not have a boyfriend in high school. I am not saying that there is anything wrong with this. I think it’s great anywhere to find a group of people that have fun being together and doing things constructive. My observation about this is that a group that has been together this long and this much, may have many unique traits that outsiders don’t know about. They may have their own set of rules. They may have their own enforcement of those rules. Also, these rules may have a juvenile twist that goes back to the elementary years when these friendships began. If you don’t mind an analogy, I liken this to the days of the Three Stooges. The Three Stooges looked silly doing all of their slaps and head knocks, but whenever an outsider stepped in and tried to do the same, the outsider ended up a sore loser. We as outsiders have no idea what goes on inside that group. The group may have made some sacred pacts like “We will always stay together” or “We will never let any guys come between us”.

    Now that these girls(young ladies) have graduated from high school and ventured to new schools or new friendships, some of these girls may have changed their ways of thinking, and that may cause conflict with the other young ladies.

    Anyway, that’s all I am going to write about this for now, but you can probably see the direction I was taking. I have thought about other possibilities, but nothing else makes sense to me. Her immediate family consists of a mother and two grandparents, to the best of my knowledge. I don’t see anything there. I do question what happened to the father and why he isn’t in the picture. Without reading anything about him, it’s just a question mark.

    She had a boyfriend at school, who was going to be visiting her for the Summer a week later.

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