FRONT ROYAL, Va. - Police said a preliminary autopsy has revealed a 19-year-old woman who died over the weekend in Front Royal was stabbed. Now, a teenage boy is in custody and charged with second-degree murder.
The autopsy by the medical examiner’s office revealed Leah Adams died from stab wounds to her chest and her death has been ruled a homicide.
“She’s a very sweet lady,” said one of her friends. “She didn't deserve to die.”
Adams’ friends were too emotional to show their face on camera, but they said they are still in shock she is gone.
A 17-year-old boy has been charged with her murder and the Commonwealth Attorney's Office will charge him as an adult.
Residents living along Kerfoot Avenue said they heard Adams screaming for help at around 8:30 p.m. Saturday.
“My wife came out here and said she was two driveways down lying on her side because she was bleeding from the neck area,” one man told FOX 5.
Adams was discovered bleeding in a Front Royal police officer’s driveway, who tried to help her. She was transported to a nearby hospital where she later died from her injuries.
Police said they were originally called to the area for a hit-and-run when they discovered Adams suffering from serious injuries. At around the same time, officers also responded around the corner to S Shenandoah Avenue for an attempted burglary. Police said that is where they arrested the 17-year-old suspect attempting to break into a home. Police also found Adams’ damaged car nearby.
Neighbors said the 17-year-old boy ran over a mailbox as he drove away.
“It’s terrible for the community,” said a female resident in the neighborhood. “You don't want to see any of these young kids hurt. It’s devastating. It’s tragic.”
Adams grew up in Winchester and is a recent graduate of James Wood High School. Friends said she was living in Front Royal while going to community college and interning at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Friends told FOX 5 they believe she was a victim of domestic violence.
“She was just trying to break up with him – that was it – and it led to another thing,” said one of her friends. “That is all what she was trying to do, just break up with the guy, and now she lost her life.”
Frederick County Public Schools spokesperson Steve Edwards said in a statement about Adams:
"Like each of our students, Leah was a valued member of the Frederick County Public Schools community. She graduated from James Wood High School last year and had a bright future ahead of her. On behalf of Frederick County Public Schools and James Wood High School, we extend condolences to her family and friends."
A preliminary hearing for the 17-year-old boy is set for April 6.