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Police believe Kingstowne murder suspect had help fleeing, court documents show

Police and Hannah Choi’s sister talk at a news conference (via Fairfax County Police Department/Facebook)

Fairfax County police are still searching for the man they say killed 35-year-old Kingstowne resident Hannah Choi, whose body was found in Maryland by a passerby weeks after she went missing in early March.

Maj. Ed O’ Carroll, chief of the Fairfax County Police Department’s Major Crimes, Cyber and Forensics Bureau, called murder suspect Joel Mosso Merino, 27, of Kingstowne, the county’s “most wanted” person in a news conference on Monday (March 28).

According to a statement filed in court by FCPD Detective Jesse Thornton on March 24 as part of a search warrant, authorities believe his brother helped “in his escape from the area.” The statement says police are also trying to determine if others are helping Merino.

Fairfax County Police are searching for Joel Merino who they have charged with the murder of Hannah Choi (courtesy of FCPD)

Choi’s body was found in Piscataway Park in Maryland on March 24. Her identity was confirmed by a medical examiner, police said.

A representative for the Maryland’s Office of the Chief Medical Examiner said today (Friday) that autopsy results are still pending.

Police say they still want the community’s help in locating Merino. Information can be shared with detectives by calling 703-246-7800, option 2. Tips can also be submitted anonymously through Crime Solvers by phone at 1-866-411-TIPS (866-411-8477), by text or online.

The FCPD is offering a $40,000 reward for information about Merino’s whereabouts that leads to his capture.

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