Body found in Charles County confirmed to be missing Fairfax County woman Hannah Choi

A body found in a wooded area in Piscataway Park in Charles County last week has been identified as missing Fairfax County woman Hannah Choi, officials confirmed at a press conference on Monday.

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Detectives were notified by the Charles County Sheriff’s Office on Thursday after a body was found in Piscataway Park. Diane Richardson from the Charles County Sheriff's Office said a passerby found the body on the 1100 block of Overlook Dr in Accokeek, Maryland and called 911.

Officials have confirmed the body found is Choi.

Police say they are still looking for the man they believe is responsible for Choi's death, her ex-boyfriend Joel Mosso Merino. Officials also announced a reward of $40,000 reward for any information that leads to the capture of Merino.

"Joel is Fairfax County’s Most Wanted and he is on the run," said Major Ed O'Carroll. "We will not stop until we find Merino. Joel – if you’re listening to me. Turn yourself in. Surrender on your terms at a time and place of your choosing or be arrested on ours."

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Choi was first reported missing on March 6. Police believe Merino killed Choi inside the Alexandria home they shared and have charged him with second-degree murder and felony disposal of a body.

Police served the murder warrant earlier this month without the recovery of the victim.

After talking to family and friends, detectives believe Choi and Merino may have gotten into an argument before she was killed. Choi's sister Minna spoke at the press conference.

"We will always remember her as someone who was brave, strong, independent, and someone who dedicated her life to helping others," she says.

Police believe Merino fled Virginia. He was last seen in Atlanta, Georgia, and authorities think he may have changed his name.


Detectives are asking anyone who may have information on this case to contact them at 703-246-7800. Tips can also be submitted anonymously through Crime Solvers by phone at 1-866-411-TIPS (866-411-8477), by text by typing "FCCS" plus tip to 847411, and by web.