Missing 17-year-old Alexandria girl Venus Iraheta returns home

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A 17-year-old girl reported missing and considered possibly endangered from Alexandria has returned home safely Tuesday night, Fairfax County police said.

Venus Lorena Romero Iraheta voluntarily left her home on January 15, according to police. Iraheta's mother reported her missing that same day and she was entered into the National Crime Information Center database.

Police said Iraheta returned home at around 9 p.m. Tuesday and detectives were interviewing the girl "regarding the circumstances surrounding her absence."

The girl's mother told FOX 5 she still doesn't know where her daughter had been, but was in tears after her return.

"I hugged my daughter and she brought me a teddy bear and then later police took her," said Iraheta's mother. "But thank God that she is alive. And with whatever happens, I know we are going to come out on top."

At a news conference held by Fairfax County police Tuesday afternoon, police linked Iraheta to a 15-year-old Maryland girl whose remains were found in Springfield last Saturday after she went missing in December. Police said the girls could be linked to gang members. But Iraheta's mother said she had no knowledge of that.

Police said earlier on Tuesday that they believe the teenager's disappearance could be part of a bigger case involving area gang members. They described this as multiple overlapping investigations with multiple suspects.