Parcview Apartments became the scene of a gruesome discovery Saturday morning around 10 a.m. when a resident found the body of a woman who had been abandoned in the apartment complex’s dumpster. Detectives worked overtime all weekend long as the woman’s body was sent to the Virginia medical examiner’s office for Northern Virginia, where she was later identified as Anna Sherman, a 21-year-old Annandale woman. The examiner concluded that Sherman died of blunt force trauma.
“We were in shock after the body was discovered,” said Rena Memedli, manager of Parcview Apartments. “But we’re trying to get back to normal.”
Detectives worked overtime during the weekend to interview witnesses and follow leads, pulling double shifts from Saturday morning until Monday night when they were ready to make an arrest. After an interview conducted at the police headquarters on Mill Road, detectives charged Frederick Simon Ajlan, a 26-year-old Dumfries man, with first-degree murder. Police officials say that Ajlan lived in Alexandria until a week before the crime, when he moved to the 16000 block of Edgewater Drive in Dumfries. According to public-information officer Lt. Jamie Bartlett, Ajlan probably killed Sherman at his home in Dumfries late Friday night or early Saturday morning before driving to Alexandria in an effort to abandon the body in a dumpster.
“It’s fair to characterize the relationship between these two individuals as a romantic one,” said Bartlett. “At this point, we’re still investigating to find a specific motive for the murder.”
The inquiry into Sherman’s death is the second homicide investigation of the year. The first homicide happened on Jan. 9, when a 29-year-old Alexandria man was beaten to death in the lobby of the Virginia probation office on Washington Street. Yet it’s unclear if Sherman’s death will count as the city’s second homicide of the year.
“We investigated the death because the body was found here in Alexandria. But it appears that murder happened in Prince William County,” said Amy Bertsch, police spokeswoman. “Statistically speaking, I don’t think it would count as an Alexandria murder.”
The circumstances of the murder and the multi-jurisdictional nature of the crime may create an unusual set of procedures for prosecutors. According to Commonwealth’s Attorney S. Randolph Sengel, some of these issues have yet to be determined.
“If it’s unclear where the homicide actually occurred, then the event can be prosecuted where the body was found,” said Sengel. “Whether that statute applies is something I’m not in a position to comment on right now.”
Ajlan appeared before Judge Robert Giammittorio by video Tuesday morning, when the court appointed the public defender’s office as counsel for the suspect. He is now being held without bond at the Alexandria Detention Center, and a preliminary hearing has been set for March.