- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Fairfax County police detectives Wednesday said they have detained 10 people — four adults and six juveniles — who they believe were involved in the gang-related murder of a 15-year-old Gaitherburg girl.

On Saturday police found Damaris Reyes Rivas‘ body in a park in Springfield, Virginia. The girl had been reported missing from Montgomery County, Maryland, on Dec. 10. The chief medical examiner ruled the death a homicide and said the victim suffered trauma to the upper body.

County police said at a Wednesday press conference that they are anticipating more charges.

The four adults identified in the roundup were Cindy Blanco Hernandez, 18, of Reston; Springfield residents Aldair J. Miranda Carcamo and Jose Castillo Rivas; and Wilmer A. Sanchez-Serrano, 21, of no fixed address. Nine of the 10 suspects have been charged with abduction and gang participation, police said.

Police said the teenager was taken against her will to Lake Accotink Park in Springfield and assaulted. She was then killed and left nearby in the 7100 block of Wimsatt Road. It’s believed the killing occurred on or about Jan. 8.

NBC4 reported that Damaris‘ mother said MS-13 gang members had begun to threaten the girl at school. The gang, which has roots in El Salvador but was started in Los Angeles in the 1980s, has a heavy presence in the D.C.-area suburbs, including Fairfax County as well as parts of Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties in Maryland. Members are known for brutal murders often involving machetes.

One of the gang’s most high-profile local cases came in July 2003, when Brenda Paz, a 17-year-old former member who turned informant, was found stabbed to death near the Shenandoah River in Virginia. The night before the killing, MS-13 members had met at the Holiday Inn Fairfax at Fair Oaks Mall to discuss the fate of Brenda, according to court records.

And last May, six MS-13 gang members were convicted in three murders in Northern Virginia. The members, who were part of the Park View Locos Salvatruchas, an MS-13 affiliate, were charged with stabbing and dismembering two men as well as fatally shooting another.

Police said this week they were looking into links between the Rivas case and the disappearance and return of two other teenage girls. Police said one of the girls, Venus Romero Lorena Iraheta, 17, of Alexandria, was possibly in danger, before she showed up unharmed at her own home Tuesday night.

Prince William County police said they were exploring possible gang links to the killing of 21-year-old Christian Alexander Sosa Rivas in January just days after Rivas was believed to have been murdered. His body was found along the Potomac River in Dumfries on Jan. 12.

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