A Year After Pham's Death, Police Continue Search For Clues
Private donor offers $20,000 reward; friends plan Celebrate Arts week
It's been one year since 19-year-old Vanessa Pham was found dead in her car off Arlington Boulevard, and Police are still seeking information that could help solve her mysterious murder.
Video surveillance released by Police this winter shows Pham – a Madison High School alumna who had just finished her first year at the Savannah College of Art and Design – visiting a business in the Fairfax Plaza Shopping Center off Gallows Road around 3 p.m. on June 27, 2010. It shows her leaving the shopping center in a 2008 Toyota.
Thirty minutes later, Police responded to a report of a crash near Arlington Boulevard and Williams Drive. They found Pham, a Falls Church resident,dead inside her white two-door car, with trauma to her upper body that was not consistent with the injuries she would have suffered in a car crash.
Today, Police released another photo of Pham's car, hoping it will spark a memory for someone who may have seen her that day. They also announced a $20,000 increase in the reward for information about the case, donated by a private benefactor, said Fairfax County Police Public Information Officer Don Gotthart. There is also a $1,000 reward from Crime Solvers.
Officers are asking the public to watch the video again, paying close attention to Pham's car as it lingers before exiting the parking lot. They hope the drivers of the cars lined up behind Pham, waiting for her to leave the shopping center, and those entering the center from Gallows Road can help identify her murderer.
In December, friends dedicated a bench at the Vienna Town Green in Pham's memory. Some of them plan to return there tonight to honor their friend.
"Each day that was spent with Vanessa was a worthwhile one," Lena Amad said at the dedication. "She was hilarious, confident, fun-loving, fashionable, kind and compassionate. We hope that people remember our truly irreplaceable friend as they pause here in the Town Green for years to come."
In honor of the one-year anniversary of her death, friends have also rallied to create a Celebrate the Arts week in Pham's honor.
"Vanessa was extremely talented and passionate about all areas of the arts. She was a painter, sculptor, singer, photographer, actress, comedian, dancer, fashion designer, and dabbled in many other talents as well," creators wrote.
Members of the Facebook group are asking supporters to see a play, sculpt pottery, take pictures, buy a cd, watch a musical, draw, and participate in other arts activities. At the end of the week, creators hope people will upload pictures of how they honored Pham.
"Art lost a special talent in Vanessa," one friend wrote.
Anyone who may have seen Vanessa Pham or her vehicle around the shopping center that day or anyone who has information can contact Crime Solvers by phone at 1-866-411-TIPS(8477), e-mail at www.fairfaxcrimesolvers.org or text “TIP187” plus your message to CRIMES(274637).
Tipsters remain anonymous, they never have to give their names or appear in court.