What to Know
- Detectives began to unravel the murder case due to another murder investigation, this one in Prince William County, Virginia.
Authorities found video evidence suggesting a missing 15-year-old Maryland girl had been murdered during another homicide investigation, Fairfax County Police said Thursday.
The body of 15-year-old Damaris Alexandra Reyes Rivas was found Saturday; she had been missing for two months.
A total of 10 suspects have been charged in connection with the girl's abduction and death.
Among them, five -- two adults and three teenagers -- are facing charges of murder, abduction and gang participation. Police have identified them as Jose Castillo Rivas, 18, of Springfield; Wilmer A. Sanchez-Serrano, 21, of no fixed address; and three 17-year-olds.
Five more suspects -- Cindy Blanco Hernandez, 18, of Reston; Aldair J. Miranda Carcamo, 18, of Springfield, and three other teenagers -- have been charged with abduction and gang participation.
Within the past week, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has lodged detainers on four of the suspects: Blanco Hernandez, Castillo Rivas, Miranda Carcamo and Sanchez-Serrano, a spokesperson for ICE said Thursday afternoon.
Police believe everyone involved is acquainted or affiliated with one gang, Fairfax County Police 2nd Lt. Brian Gaydos said.
"Somehow, some way the people are connected through acquaintances, through knowledge of the crimes or some other investigatory information that detectives have uncovered through speaking with a whole plethora of people," he said.
Detectives began to unravel the murder of Reyes Rivas while attending a multi-jurisdiction briefing Jan. 25 led by Prince George's County Police, said Fairfax Police Chief Edwin Roessler during a press conference Thursday.
During the January event, authorities determined that two missing juveniles from Fairfax County were "indirectly linked by association" to the 21-year-old victim of a recent homicide in Prince William County, Roessler said.
That victim was Christian Sosa Rivas, Prince William County authorities said. His body was found Jan. 12 along the Potomac River in Dumfries, Virginia.
Authorities discovered leads during the Prince William County investigation that suggested that Reyes Rivas had also been killed. This included video evidence suggesting the girl had been murdered in the Lake Accotink area of Fairfax County, Roessler said.
After two comprehensive searches of the area, authorities found her body Saturday near an industrial park in the 7100 block of Wimsatt Road in Springfield, Virginia.
She had been missing from her Gaithersburg, Maryland, home for two months.
Police believe Reyes Rivas was held against her will, taken to Lake Accotink Park and assaulted before she was killed on or around Jan. 8, almost a month after she disappeared.
Her devastated mother spoke about her daughter Tuesday at her home.
"My daughter was a good person -- not because she was my daughter, but because she was truly good, sweet. She got along with everybody," she said in Spanish, asking that News4 withhold her name for her safety.
She said her daughter told her MS-13 gang members began threatening her at school. In late November, just after she turned 15, she left home. She stayed in touch with her mom and eventually returned home.
Then, on Dec. 10, she left again.
"She told me, 'No, Mom, I want to see you, but I can't return,'" the teen's mother recalled. "'Why?' I asked her. "'No, Mom, I can't tell you.'"
She heard from her daughter for the last time Jan 6.
Two other teenage girls whom, police say, had contact with gang members also recently disappeared. Both teens returned home safe.
Lizzy Colindres, 16, and her 5-month-old baby, Aiden, returned home to Springfield after they were missing for almost a month. Police had said they believed the teen mom and infant were in danger. They were seeking the child's father, Jose Castillo Rivas, who is now in custody in Reyes Rivas' death.
Reyes Rivas' body was found not far from the neighborhood where Colindres lives.
She told News4 she left in fear after the suspected murder of her boyfriend in Prince William County.
"I'm really sorry because I know she was very scared about what could happen to me, and I love you, Mama," she said.
She told News4 she'd heard about Colindres and her baby disappearing.
"That's why I came, because I thought my mom would be so sad," she said.
But police took her into custody a short time after her homecoming and said she was connected to Reyes Rivas' death.
"She is in custody," Gaydos said. "We're looking at the extent of her involvement, but I couldn't get into the details of that."
Iraheta told News4 that the friends she had been with while she was gone are not connected to MS-13 and that she did not see Colindres or Reyes Rivas during that time.
Stay with NBC4 and NBCWashington.com for details on this developing story.