DNA Evidence in Vanessa Pham Murder Case Revealed

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Northern Virginia Bureau Chief Julie Carey learned what DNA evidence that links Julio Blanco-Garcia to the murder of Vanessa Pham. (Published Monday, Aug 5, 2013)

    New details are emerging in the high profile murder of Fairfax County teenager Vanessa Pham just two weeks before jury selection begins in the trial of her accused killer.

    The previously undisclosed evidence comes as the DNA forensic analysis report is added to the case file along with autopsy results and a report on what was found in the defendant's computer.

    Julio Blanco-Garcia, an undocumented immigrant and construction worker, faces a second-degree murder charge.

    Pham's family waited 2 1/2 long years after her death before police were able to make an arrest. The college freshman and aspiring fashion designer was last seen alive on a store surveillance video leaving the Fairfax Plaza shopping center June 27, 2010, about 3 p.m. Just minutes later, her car was found in a ditch alongside Arlington Boulevard.

    Pham had been stabbed to death.

    Police said DNA evidence finally led them to Blanco-Garcia, and he was arrested Dec. 13.

    Now the report from Virginia forensic scientists reveals far more about the DNA evidence that will be critical to prosecutors. DNA was analyzed in swabs taken from the knife handle grip and the butt of the knife found in Pham's car. The swab from the handle grip shows a DNA mixture from three people, including the victim and Blanco-Garcia.

    The sample from the knife butt and several other items in the car could not be linked to the defendant's DNA. Other court documents reveal that Blanco-Garcia's fingerprints were found on the front passenger door of Pham's car.

    Detectives have also scoured the defendant's computer for clues and discovered that Blanco-Garcia appeared to be constantly checking on the investigation. There are many searches under the name "Vanessa" and "Vanessa Pham."

    In addition, there were frequent online visits to the Facebook pages of the Fairfax County Police Department and America's Most Wanted and their reports on the Pham case.

    The autopsy report recently filed shows a far more brutal attack than previously known. The medical examiner documented 12 stab wounds in Pham's body -- to her neck, chest and leg. The teenager also had defensive cuts on both hands from apparently trying to fend off her killer.

    But the latest court filings do not provide an answer to two big questions: What was the motive and how did the defendant and victim come into contact? It's likely those questions will remain unanswered until the trial.

    Jury selection begins Aug. 19.