MERRIFIELD, Va. (WUSA) -- Vanessa Pham, a 19-year-old fashion college freshman, may have been stabbed to death, according to sources close to the investigation. The Falls Church resident was found dead inside her mother's car Sunday afternoon after the Scion crashed into a heavily wooded ditch on Arlington Boulevard near Williams road.
Fairfax County Police and paramedics arrived on the scene around 3:34 pm Sunday and determined that Pham's "injuries were inconsistent with a car crash," said Officer Bud Walker, spokesperson for the Fairfax County Police Department.
By Monday afternoon, the medical examiner's office had ruled the death a homicide. Police would only confirm "that the victim had trauma to her upper body," but the weapon used and cause of death were not revealed.
At the small Falls Church apartment Pham shared with her mother, grandmother and aunt, the sense of despair was palpable.
"Why would anybody do this?" asked a stunned Julie Pham, the victim's mother. Julie's face was pale, her eyes shrunk into her head and her upper lip trembled as she despaired over losing" my only daughter, my only child."
Other sobbing relatives gathered at the Pham home said Vanessa was the apple of the family's eye.
The working-class, Vietnamese immigrants had struggled to pay for Vanessa's $40,000 tuition at a fashion college. They saved and took out loans but were very proud of the James Madison High School graduate.
"She was very talented and creative," said her mom.
Pham had left her home Sunday around noon to visit friends, her relatives said, but three hours later she would be dead.
"This happened in the middle of the day. I don't understand," said a bewildered Julie Pham.
Homicide detectives and evidence technicians spent all day Monday at the crime scene and even used a bloodhound in the ongoing investigation. Detectives also reconstructed Vanessa's final 24 hours in an effort to determine who murdered her and why.
"I just want justice, whoever killed her, I want them to pay" said Julie Pham.
Anyone with information related to incident is asked to contact Crime Solvers at 1-866-411-8477.
Written by Armando Trull
9NEWS NOW & wusa9.com