FAIRFAX, Va. - A person of interest has been identified in the death of 16-year-old Jholie Moussa, according to authorities.
Fairfax County police announced that a 17-year-old male from the Alexandria area was identified as a person of interest in Moussa's death. Authorities said the person of interest, who they did not name due to his age, was taken into custody on Jan. 18 for a prior felony assault against Moussa that was previously unreported.
Detectives said the unreported assault was uncovered during the course of their investigation into Moussa's disappearance and that alleged incident happened before she went missing on Jan. 12.
Sources tell FOX 5's Evan Lambert that the person of interest is Moussa's ex-boyfriend.
Fairfax County police also announced that Moussa's case had been updated to an "endangered missing juvenile" on Jan. 16, despite a press release from the department the following day that stated, "Detectives at this point have no evidence that she is in immediate danger."
“On Tuesday (Jan. 16), we met with the people from the Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the FBI. As we met with them and we discussed our various options, it was at that time with Jholie literally falling off the electronic radar – no communication, no social media, no postings like that – and talking with the family that this clearly now was something beyond normal, at that point we upgraded her status as an endangered missing juvenile and our efforts continued," Lt. James Bacon of the Fairfax County Police Department's Major Crimes Bureau said during the Tuesday press conference. "Our efforts continued everyday through interviews, searches, web searches, search warrants, legal process through social media and such, that continued up until the day she was found."
Authorities repeatedly said there was no evidence or reason to believe Moussa was in danger and continued to state that until her body was found Friday morning at Woodlawn Neighborhood Park in Alexandria, less than one mile from her home. Police said her body was covered in leaves and debris.
Her body was taken to the medical examiner’s office where she was officially identified.
Police said on Friday that this was the second time they had searched the park -- with the first time coming within days after she was reported missing.
According to police, Moussa's death is being investigated as a homicide.
"The autopsy results are pending," Fairfax County police said in a statement. "At this time, we believe this is an isolated incident. We are continuing to investigate every lead."
According to FOX 5's Evan Lambert, a source confirmed one of the last calls to Moussa’s phone came from an area near the park where she was found dead. However, the GPS of the cellphone was not accurate enough to tell if the call came exactly from the park.
Moussa's family had previously said an unknown man borrowed a 12-year-old boy’s phone to make a call to Moussa's phone on the day she went missing. It remains unclear if that man is a suspect in this case.
The 16-year-old girl, who was a 10th-grade student at Mount Vernon High School, was last seen on Jan. 12 and reported missing the following day.
Moussa's mother told FOX 5 her daughter left home at about 4:15 p.m. on Jan. 12 and she told her twin sister she was going to a party in Norfolk. Police said they looked into that tip, but it did not pan out.
Investigators had originally stated that Moussa did not appear to be an imminent danger since she left her home on her own accord. Until Friday, Moussa's case was being treated as a juvenile runaway.
Detectives said they had spoken with about 20 people who had recent contact with Moussa. However, police said many of those 20 people who were friends with Moussa were not fully cooperating with investigators.
Fairfax County police said nearly two weeks ago that the FBI was assisting in the search for Moussa.
The park where Moussa's body was found was reopened on Monday. A memorial of stuffed animals, candles and balloons sat at the entrance of the park.
A memorial service for Moussa was scheduled to be held Thursday at a church in Springfield.
This is a developing story. Stay with FOX 5 for updates.