Jholie Moussa took out a restraining order on her abusive ex. Now he’s a person of interest in her murder
Domestic violence and homicide go hand-in-hand
Jholie Moussa, 16, was initially labeled as a runaway when her family reported her disappearance on January 12, 2018.
Moussa's immediate family, who live in Alexandria, Virginia, were always convinced that she hadn't just run away, but police allege she left her house of her own accord to meet an "unknown man" she'd been Snapchatting –until her body was found in a public park, half a mile from her home, two weeks later.
"Based on the facts of the case, there is nothing that indicates that Moussa is in any danger," Fairfax County police said in a statement prior to the discovery of Moussa's body.
Five days after her daughter's remains were discovered, Moussa's mother told NBC News4 that her daughter's ex — a 17-year-old boy — was a person of interest in her death, and revealed that her daughter had previously taken out a no contact order against him.
"I knew she was like a predator's dream because she was just so little and dainty and kind and sweet and timid," Moussa's mother, Syreeta Steward-Hill, said. "I was so afraid."
Moussa's ex hasn't been charged in connection with her murder — yet — but he will soon be going to trial for a different crime he allegedly committed against Moussa: strangulation.
An article published in 2017 , in the wake of several mass shootings wrought by men with histories of domestic abuse, called strangulation an act that "inhabits a category all its own in domestic violence as a marker of lethality." One expert claimed "the mere presence of strangulation in a situation of domestic abuse increases the chances of homicide sevenfold."
More than half of all women who are murdered are killed by a former or current partner, and 10 percent of those women experienced intimate partner violence in the month leading up to their death.
Moussa's ex was charged with strangulation before she died. So why didn't Fairfax County police take that charge, along with her no contact order and the well-documented link between domestic abuse and homicide, into consideration when she was initially reported missing?
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