Jessica Nguyen murder investigation continues as community mourns

Jessica Nguyen, killed in Gaithersburg. (Photo courtesy Montgomery County Public Schools)

Friday night, dozens of young people gathered outside the Gaithersburg townhome of 12-year-old Jessica Nguyen, who was found dead in the family basement Tuesday evening.

“I just miss my best friend,” said Patricia Alarcon, a fellow 6th grader at Gaithersburg Middle School. “I loved her. I don't think she deserved this.”

Officers afternoon carried boxes and containers of evidence out of the apartment Friday. They carried a bolt cutter, a chisel and a crowbar inside.

Maryland's medical examiner has ruled the death a homicide. Police would not elaborate on the cause of death or suspects but confirmed that there was trauma to her upper body. Sources say the investigation remains wide open. No arrest has been made.

Police were investigating at the scene of the slaying Thursday with prosecutors. There was no sign of forced entry to the home or any kind of escape by a suspect.

Family members and others in the home are being interviewed but detectives haven’t focused on a subject. They are now waiting for forensic lab results, which may include DNA.

“It's very disturbing for us, because I can't sleep at night, thinking about the little girl,” said neighbor Indira Koshy.

Friends say tearful goodbyes

Sixth graders who came by the family’s house Thursday said they’d known the little girl since the second grade and considered her a close friend.

Some were overcome with emotions as they placed flowers at the growing memorial and hurried away. Others, with their parent’s blessing, wanted to talk about the slain honor roll student.

“I really am her friend cause I do care about her and was really sad when I found out she died,” said Amani Jones.

“She's not there to be with me and be my friend anymore. And I miss her a lot,” said Haley Reynolds.

She had French and social studies classes with her friend Jessica. Haley was wearing the necklace Jessica gave her on her birthday.

“She gave it to me in gym class and it just meant a lot to me. And now that she's not here it's just really upsetting,” the girl said in tears.

On Thursday, part of the investigation was on hold because of a beehive. A large swarm of honey bees was buzzing around a hive in a tree in a field which detectives want to search. They're waiting for a bee keeper to remove the bees before they proceed.

Jessica was a straight-A honor roll student at Gaithersburg Middle School. Other girls and their mothers placed teddy bears and balloons in front of Jessica’s home. Sixth grader Alexis Pineda said she would always remember her friend.

“It meant I'm always going to be there for here and she’s always going to be there for me even though she's gone,” the 12-year-old said.

Neighbors said they heard screams around 7:30 Tuesday evening. Officers were called to the scene on Tuesday for an injury to a child, but instead found the girl slain in the basement of the townhome where she lives. Police say there was trauma to her upper body.

“At this point we’re looking at every possibility, the investigation is very active at this time,” Officer Army Daum said.

{ }{ }{ }

{ }

{ }{ }{ } Flowers and balloons are placed near Jessica Nguyen's house. (Photo: Brian Hopkins)

{ }

{ }

Those who came to her house said she had a tight group of friends in her neighborhood.

“She was happy, she used to come home a lot, she was nice, she was a good girl. We just don't know what happened to her,” said Fadia Alarcon.