Body found on North Hill identified, but name cannot be released

Two officers standing near a tent in the woods

Police announced Friday that the county medical examiner has positively identified the murder victim found in the North Hill woods on May 23.

However because of a state law passed in 2017, police say they are not able to release the juvenile’s name.

“[W]e are prohibited from providing any identifying information unless parental consent is provided,” the Fairfax County Police Department said in a press release. “Parental consent has not been obtained in this case and no additional information pertaining to the victim will be provided.”

Investigators located the body in a freshly dug grave in the North Hill woods on the morning of May 23. They had received a lead two days earlier that caused them to begin searching that area on May 22.

After the body was found, Chief Edwin Roessler indicated the incident was believed to be gang-related. On May 29, the police officially ruled the case a homicide.

Asked if there was any change in status to the missing person case for 16-year-old Richard Donaldo Hernandez Cruz, who has been missing since April 22, a police spokesman said there were no updates on that case. Cruz was last seen in the 4900 block of Beauregard Street.

The law preventing the release of the name of the victim was passed by the Virginia General Assembly in 2017. It states that if the deceased victim of a crime is a minor, written consent is need from the victim’s next of kin before law enforcement can name them publicly.

Four lawmakers representing the Richmond Highway area — State Sen. Scott Surovell, Del. Paul Krizek, Del. Mark Sickles and then-Del. Dave Albo — all voted in favor of the legislation. State. Sen. Adam Ebbin was one of 10 members of the upper chamber to vote against it. No members of the House of Delegates voted against the measure, which was signed into law by then-Gov. Terry McAuliffe.

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