Investigators have not discussed a possible motive for the killings

By Chris Harris
February 12, 2020 11:05 AM
Ayanna Maertens Griffin and Joel Bianda
Go Fund Me (2)

Police responding to reports of a single-car crash early Saturday morning in Virginia arrived to find the bodies of a young D.C.-area couple.

Both victims had been shot once in the head.

PEOPLE confirms with Virginia State Police that Ayanna Maertens Griffin, 18, and her 21-year-old boyfriend, Ntombo Joel Bianda, were executed along a rural stretch of Route 58 in Halifax County, about 10 miles away from the North Carolina border.

Their bodies were found close to Bianda’s silver Nissan Maxima, which had struck the highway’s median.

Police described the area in a press release as “fairly isolated and not heavily traveled in the overnight hours.”

Investigators have not revealed a possible motive for the killings, but local authorities have announced they are looking into the possibility that another vehicle may have been involved in the tragedy.

“We are exploring multiple possibilities to include there being a second vehicle involved, which is why it is so important for anyone who may have seen or heard something suspicious early Saturday morning along Philpott Road to reach out to state police,” Capt. David O. Cooper II, Commander of the Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation’s Appomattox Field Office, said, WDBJ7 reports.

WSLS spoke to Maertens Griffin’s father, George Maertens Aramayo, who said he was supposed to get married this week. Now, he’s planning his daughter’s funeral, and has created a GoFundMe page to help fund it. “I definitely now understand the words of a parent’s true nightmare,” Aramayo said.

Biando’s family has also set up a GoFundMe for his funeral service, noting that he died just 16 days after his birthday and that “he was so caring and would gladly lay his life down” for his family.

Ayanna’s mother, Melissa Griffin, also spoke to WSLS. “Even through the worst of days, she would light up, you know, anyone’s face if they were having a rough day,” Griffin said. “Beautiful personality. Beautiful human. Everyone that encountered her loved her.”

She said she hopes police will find the couple’s killer quickly.

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“I hope that whoever is responsible for this is caught and, you know, punished to the fullest extent,” she said. “I don’t think it’s fair that whoever did this is still breathing while my daughter isn’t.”

Anyone with information pertinent to this case is urged to call Virginia State Police at (434) 352-7128. Tips can also be texted to #77 or emailed to questions@vsp.virginia.gov.

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