CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - Chesterfield Police have just announced that missing person Leyla Namiranian is dead, and they have charged a man with first degree murder in the case.
Namiranian's ex-boyfriend, 54-year-old Michael Edwards, was arrested Thursday with the help of Henrico Police and U.S. Marshals. Edwards was considered the primary person of interest in the case.
Police have not found Namiranian's body, but they are now classifying the case a "no-body" homicide. Police did not release many details, but Chris Hensley of the Chesterfield Police Department says, "There's a laundry list of physical evidence, electronic evidence and so forth that's involved in this case."
Investigators found blood traces in the trunk of his car. Cell phone records put Edwards near Namiranian's home for five hours the night of her disappearance on April 4, 2012. They also show him near I-95, where both of Namiranian's phones were found.
When detectives initially searched Namiranian's home, they say they found her car in the driveway, no signs of a struggle, and her purse and cell phone missing.
They searched her home again and found a journal. In it, she wrote about Edwards choking her and about his jealousy and her fear of him.
Namiranian was not the only person allegedly threatened by Edwards. A protective order issued to his estranged wife, who says Edwards threatened to kill her.
News of an arrest comes as a relief to those who knew Namiranian.
"Her father came back to town on several occasions from Italy," a former neighbor says. "We talked with him several times, and it's really sad. I'm so
happy that it can not only bring closure to them but to the community... everything. You just don't get away with something like that."
Namiranian was an executive at Altria. We reached out to her former employer for their reaction.
"Leyla Namiranian was a valued colleague." an Altria spokesperson says. "We appreciate the Chesterfield Police Department's efforts these past 3.5 years to pursue justice in her case."
Edwards is being held in a Chesterfield jail with no bond.
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