Police say the remains of missing Virginia woman Hannah Choi have been found but they continue to search for her suspected killer ex-boyfriend
- The remains of missing
Virginiawoman Hannah Choiwere found in Maryland on March 24.
- Police continue to search for her suspected killer, ex-boyfriend
Joel Merino, 27.
The body of
Choi, 35, was reported missing by her friends on March 6, and police quickly named her live-in ex-boyfriend Joel Merino, 27, as the primary suspect.
Merino is currently wanted on charges of second-degree murder and disposal of a body. A public information officer for the Fairfax County Police Department did not immediately return Insider's call for an update on the case Tuesday afternoon.
At a Monday press conference, Major Ed O'Carroll, commander of the major crimes, cyber and forensics bureaus of the Fairfax County Police Department, said that Choi's remains were found by a passerby March 24 in Piscataway Park in Fort Washington, Maryland.
The remains were positively identified as Choi's over the weekend, but her exact cause of death awaits further examination by coroners, O'Carroll said.
The park was an early focus of searches for Choi, thanks to evidence that pointed to Merino visiting the park the evening before Choi's friends noticed her missing.
O'Carroll said that the evidence obtained so far indicates that Choi and Merino spent the evening of March 5 together, and that something happened between the exes to result in Choi sustaining a "significant injury."
He called on Merino to turn himself in and tell his side of the story.
"Joel, if you're listening to me, turn yourself in. Surrender on your terms at a time and place of your choosing or be arrested on ours. You can tell your story and you enjoy a presumption of innocence," O'Carroll said.
It was also revealed at the press conference that Merino had plans to fly to California on March 8, but that he never got on the flight. They now believe he went to Georgia instead, and he hasn't been seen since.
Choi's younger sister, Minna, spoke at the press conference, thanking the public for their support and investigators for bringing her family answers.
"It doesn't bring her back, but we are very relieved to have at least found her finally so the family can get a little bit of semblance of closure," Minna Choi said.
Choi said the family has been moved to see the many lives her sister impacted before her death.
"I always knew my sister was a social butterfly. She had so many friends and connections. The past couple weeks have shown us in particular how much of an impact she had on peoples' lives around her. We will always remember her as someone who was brave, strong, independent, and someone who dedicated her life to helping others."
Anyone with information on Merino's whereabouts is being asked to call the Fairfax County Police Department directly at 703-246-7800, or Fairfax County
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