The teenager accused of murdering his ex-girlfriend and leaving her body in a Fairfax County, Virginia, park pleaded guilty Wednesday to first-degree murder.
Nebiyu Ebrahim was 17 years old when he strangled 16-year-old Jholie Moussa to death in January 2018. Two weeks later, her body was found in a shallow grave in Woodlawn Park, less than a mile from her home and walking distance from where Ebrahim lived with his parents.
Early on, Ebrahim was considered a suspect and was arrested for having previously assaulted Moussa, who was a sophomore at Mount Vernon High School.
Initially, Fairfax County police believed Moussa may have been a runaway, because her twin sister told them the girl said she was running an errand and would be home soon, but later texted that she was going to a party in Norfolk.
Police didn’t send an Amber Alert, which would have let the entire area know she was in danger.
Last fall, Moussa’s aunt, Veronica Eyenga, told WTOP that learning more about the girl’s killing after Ebrahim was charged didn’t make things any easier.
“We know they had a really, really horrible relationship, but you never envision in a thousand years that someone who says they love you would turn around and just kill you like this,” Eyenga said. “Unfortunately, this is a cycle that we see so many of our young girls falling in, but never in a million years had we imagine that it would hit so close to home.”
Eyenga founded an advocacy group, Not A Runaway Inc., that she said focuses on pushing for alerts to be sent in more missing children cases. It also sponsors teen domestic violence programs.
WTOP’s Teta Alim, Rick Massimo, John Domen, Dan Friedell, Amanda Iacone, Megan Cloherty and Mike Murillo contributed to this report.