FAIRFAX CO. - Police say they continue to investigate the murder of 16-year-old Jholie Moussa, just a day after announcing her now 18-year-old ex-boyfriend, Nebiyu Ebhrahim, as the suspect.
Rescue divers searched for additional evidence in the homicide on Friday in a pond in the area of Pole Road and Pondside Terrace.
The area is close to Woodlawn Park in Alexandria, where Jholie was found two weeks after she was reported missing by family members. The park is also within walking distance to where Ebrahim lived with his parents, according to police.
On Friday morning, police held a press conference about the arrest. Chief Ed Roessler said he is heartbroken for the family and they will continue to fight for justice for Jholie.
The medical examiner’s office ruled Jholie's death as suffocation by smothering and blunt force trauma.
In Ebrahim's first court appearance, prosecutors said he assaulted Jholie twice before her murder.
They said in the second assault, Ebrahim violated a protective order and choked her to the point of unconsciousness.
"We knew this day was coming but then you get angry, you know how dare he, and then you're sad and it was just a rollercoaster of emotions," says Jholie's aunt, Veronica Eyenga.
Shortly after Jholie went missing, her family was upset and angry with how police handled her case, listing her as a runaway.
Chief Roessler addressed that on Friday, stating that a new Virginia law prohibits them from identifying a juvenile without written consent. He said that kept them from getting information out as quickly as they would have liked.
"From the moment that we got this call, we did not stop to find Jholie," he said.
Eyenga and her sister, another aunt of Jholie's, Celine Meyong Krishack, have started the non-profit Not A Runaway Inc. to focus on modifying or updating laws when it comes to missing people, especially Amber Alerts.
"We need to bring it up to date with how kids are actually interacting and disappearing and not necessarily the old-fashioned kidnapping grab-and-go," says Eyenga.
They also focusing mentoring teenage girls about self-confidence and creating awareness about domestic violence amongst teenagers.
Both women said that finding out Jholie's cause of death made them realize that Ebrahim was also struggling.
"I just feel like we both let them down, all-around, as a community. He needs help and we let him down too," says Meyon Krishack.
"We're channeling our pain, our anger, our sadness and making sure other families don't go through what we went through."