NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — The family of a teenager missing for 38 days learned the news they feared the most Friday: Norfolk’s medical examiner confirmed a body found behind a Southampton County home was that of 18-year-old Anjelica “AJ” Hadsell.
At a small, emotional gathering behind the family home in Norfolk, AJ’s family and friends talked to WAVY News about the loss.
“It was tragic that this happened. It was tragic that her life was taken,” said family friend Tim Moran. He spoke on behalf of AJ’s mother, Jennifer Hadsell, who stood by his side, too emotional to talk.
“There’s anger, there’s sadness, there’s a lot of healing that needs be taking place, but there’s still a lot of unanswered questions as to who, how, and what, and those are the questions we need answered for the family,” Moran said.
AJ Hadsell, a Norview High School graduate and Longwood University freshman, was home on spring break when she disappeared. She was last seen by a neighbor on Millard Street near her Norfolk home around 2 p.m. March 2.
Moran said the family does not know what brought investigators to the home in Southampton County or what happened to her. For now, family and friends are leaning on one another.
Family friend John Ritchie stopped by the home to share his condolences.
“I watched the news every day, hoping they could find her alive … She was always polite, respectful to everybody. Nobody had any bad words. You can’t say nothing bad about her,” Ritchie said.
And while they wait for answers, those closest to AJ are remembering the woman they so desperately wanted to bring home alive.
“I still can’t imagine what’s going through their minds, but I know it’s important that they get resolve and we get justice for AJ,” Moran said.
The family said they learned about the identification around 5 p.m. Friday. They are working on a memorial video with messages from family and friends about what they loved about AJ and what they’ll miss most.
10 On Your Side contacted a man related to the owner of the property where AJ’s body was found. He said he was just as shocked as everyone else by the discovery.
AJ’s adoptive father, Wesley Hadsell, remains in jail, after admitting he broke into a home to investigative leads into his daughter’s disappearance. He maintains his innocence.
Police have not named any suspects in the case.