One year later, still no suspect in Vanessa Pham murder case

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One year after a Northern Virginia teenager was murdered her death remains unresolved. Vanessa Pham was found stabbed in her car on Sunday, June 27, 2010.

vanessa pham
Vanessa Pham

“I really do cry everyday,” said Tracy To, a cousin of the murdered Pham. “The fact that we have no closure, it makes it even worse.”

pham memorial
Friends of slain Vanessa Pham bring flowers to a memorial held one year after her murder. (Photo: Gail Pennybacker)

Dozens of friends of Pham gathered in Vienna park to remember the 19-year-old on the year anniversary of her death. Friends are offering a $20,000 reward for fund for information leading to the arrest of a suspect in this case.

Pham was found stabbed to death in her car, crashed off Route 50. The 19-year-old had suffered multiple stab wounds. Fairfax County Police investigators say they have recovered some evidence from the scene that could help when a suspect is identified, but that has yet to happen.

Pham stopped at a nail salon at the Fairfax Plaza Shopping Center around 3 p.m. that day. Video surveillance shows her car driving into the shopping center off Gallows Road, then leaving minutes later. Watch the video here

"There is no question that someone in that busy parking lot on a busy Sunday afternoon saw Vanessa encounter someone who in just a matter of minutes, killed her," said Officer Don Gotthardt.

“We don't know who did it, it's a horrible crime, and I'm afraid for somebody else,” To said.

Officers called for reports of a car crash found her 2008 Toyota in a ditch off the south side of Arlington Boulevard, less than half a mile from the shopping center. Pham lived at 6700 James Lee Street in Falls Church.

Few tips but leads coming in from car evidence

On August 26, 2010, police said they have critical forensic evidence that could lead them to the suspect in a murder mystery.

Pham’s cousin To said then that she wants Vanessa's killer caught for justice and to keep someone else from becoming a victim. To told us, "We have to find who did this. Yes, for closure for Vanessa, but so that this person doesn't attack again."

Pham’s family is struggling to understand why no one has come forward with information about her murder or apparent abduction, especially the drivers seen in a surveillance video near Pham’s white car as it drove out of a busy Falls Church parking lot on Sunday afternoon, June 27.

"Only one person called 911 and that person didn't even stop," said To.

Fairfax County Police said in August that while tips are few, fresh leads are coming from forensic evidence taken from inside the car. Analysis takes time, but may point to a suspect. That person is likely a total stranger.

pham memorial
Friends of slain Vanessa Pham write the date she was killed with chalk. (Photo: Gail Pennybacker)

"When I went to see her grave I felt really bad like...'sorry Vanessa, I still don't know what happened to you,'" shared To.

Anyone who may have seen Vanessa Pham or her vehicle around the shopping center that day or anyone who has information about her murder is asked to contact Crime Solvers by phone at 1-866-411-TIPS(8477), e-mail at

A cash reward is available. The police department's informational flyer is available here.

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