CRIME

Julio Miguel Blanco-Garcia arrested for Vanessa Pham's murder

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ABC7's Roz Plater, who has covered the Vanessa Pham story since the beginning, updates the latest developments in the video.

Vanessa Pham

Vanessa Pham's friends are now speaking out after a man was arrested for her murder. The 19-year-old was found stabbed to death in her car in Falls Church in 2010.

“Shock, surprise, joy, happiness,” says Maralee Pepper.

“A weight has been lifted off our shoulders,” says Lena Amad. Pepper and Amad were friends of Vanessa from her days at James Madison School in Vienna. They both remember her infectious spirit.

“A loving, happy, very cheerful person,” says Amad.

“A beautiful soul and someone that, once you meet her, you’re going to love her,” says Pepper.

Authorities arrested Julio Miguel Blanco-Garcia, 27, at a construction site in Vienna shortly after noon Thursday. He is being charged with killing Pham, who was found dead on June 27, 2010 off Route 50.

Detectives were able to link Garcia to the homicide through forensic evidence.

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.

Federal authorities also determined Blanco-Garcia, a native of Guatemala, was here illegally. They placed a detainer on him after it was determined he was in violation of U.S. immigration law.

The family of Vanessa released this statement Friday:

We will always remember Vanessa; we know this development will not bring her back to us, but we trust that it will enable us to focus our efforts on honoring her life and spirit rather than on the haunting uncertainty and mystery of what transpired that day.

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