Human remains have been found in an area near where police were searching for a missing 18-year-old college student from Virginia who was last seen March 2 under suspicious circumstances.
Anjelica “AJ” Hadsell was seen by a neighbor “driving with a purpose” away from her house in Norfolk, according to WAVY-TV. The neighbor said a white car was then seen following Hadsell, and her family says that same car was seen near their house. The family said Hadsell had been having issues with someone she knew.
WTVR reports that the remains were found in Southampton County, Virginia, according to Norfolk Police. The remains were sent to the medical examiner to be identified.
Here’s what you need to know about Hadsell and her disappearance:
1. Her Father Was Arrested After Breaking Into a Home to Look for Evidence
The case took a turn Saturday when Hadsell’s father, Wesley, was arrested. Police charged him with breaking and entering, four counts of obstruction of justice and possession of ammunition by a felon. He told WAVY-TV he broke into the home of someone he suspects is involved in his daughter’s disappearance and was searching for evidence.
Police questioned Wesley Hadsell for more than 15 hours but have not named him as a person of interest in his daughter’s disappearance, according to WAVY. The news station talked to Hadsell in jail, and he admitted to them that he broke into the house and spent about 18 minutes there, tearing through trash cans, pealing back parts of the carpet. He told the news station he “even punched the family dog out of anger.”
Hadsell told WAVY he found his daughter’s jacket in the couch, rolled up behind a cushion. Hadsell said, “I was just trying to make the evidence come to light. It’s not like I had the jacket, I didn’t plant the jacket, I didn’t know anything about that. It was the fact of the overwhelming information that led me there.”
He told the news station:
I want my daughter home. That’s what I want and that’s all I want. Anybody who wants to say something about that or get in the way of that, then I’m sorry. So what some ways are unorthodox. I didn’t have anything to do with her disappearance. I don’t know where she’s at.
Wesley Hadsell was arrested on rape and kidnapping charges in 2005 after allegedly abducting his estranged wife in Ohio. The couple has since divorced, according to court records, and Wesley remarried. According to news articles from the time of the incident, Hadsell’s ex-wife was found two weeks after she disappeared.
The charges against Hadsell were dropped after he was indicted on federal bank robbery charges, according to the PilotOnline.com. Authorities said he robbed the bank while with his ex-wife.
Hadsell was also convicted in 1998 of felonious restraint after convincing his 15-year-old girlfriend to run away from home, according to PilotOnline. He was 19 at the time. She told police Hadsell didn’t harm her.
Hadsell told WAVY that he has “made mistakes” in the past, but “I’ve been out of trouble for over 10 years, and I do have successful employment at a business and stuff like that and a good family.”
2. Her Family Says She Was Scared of Someone Before She Went Missing
Hadsell’s family told WAVY in the days after she went missing that they suspect someone she knows is involved in her disappearance. The family and news station did not name that person, because he has not been identified by police as a suspect.
Her cousin, Chelsey Zirkle, told WAVY:
This person supposedly said that he wanted to hang out, and she said she didn’t think it was a good idea. She was more worried that this person would maybe do something, and this person is the person we kind of suspect did something.
3. Police Searched a Wooded Area in Chesapeake After a Tip
Police spent several hours searching a wooded area in Chesapeake after receiving a tip that clothing was found on the side of the road, according to WAVY. The tipster found at least four items belonging to Hadsell and called police, according to the news station.
Police could be seen collecting evidence in brown paper bags and taking photographs. Video surveillance was taken from a nearby business, according to the WAVY report.
They also searched in Isle of Wight County on April 4 after a tip, according to HamptonRoads.com. Divers were seen searching a pond there, but nothing was found.
4. She Was Home From College When She Went Missing
Hadsell is a freshman at Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia, and was at home on break when she went missing.
The university’s president, Taylor Reveley, posted a message on the school’s website about Hadsell on March 12:
Our tight-knit community is bearing grave thoughts on the return from spring break. As many of you know from campus updates and media, one of our fellow Lancers is missing. Freshman student Anjelica “AJ” Hadsell went home to Norfolk over break and then was reported missing there. We had hoped she might return to school with the resumption of classes — but the start of classes now is passing by. We remain hopeful.
5. A Reward Is Being Offered for Information in the Case
According to WAVY, a $3,000 cash reward is being offered for information in the case.
Hadsell’s family has been posting information about the case on a Facebook page “Bring AJ Home.”
The family posted Sunday:
Just want to let everyone know that we appreciate all of the positive feedback that has been coming in and that our focus right now is to BRING AJ HOME. We are asking for that to be everyone’s focus – bringing our daughter home. Please continue to share her photos and pass out fliers. Thank you very much.
Anyone with information is asked to call 757-664-7026.