Most Read Vienna Patch Stories of 2011
The best stories of 2011 as determined by the readers
As we count down the days until 2012 begins, we have been looking back on 2011. Instead of picking our own top stories, Vienna Patch has decided to take a look at statistics to see which stories were viewed the most by our readers.
So, here is your top seven
Well-known Bishop O'Connell English teacher and former O'Connell graduate Tom Duesterhaus went missing this June.
In a word, Duesterhaus is compassionate – toward his family, his community of Youth Apostles and the students he’s taught for the past 12 years at Bishop O’Connell High School.
Which is why finding out his contract at his alma mater was not renewed, his father Rich Duesterhaus said, could have made him upset enough to leave the Northern Virginia area he’s called home for 35 years.
“It would have been decimating to him,” Rich Duesterhaus said. "He has a lifelong connection to that school. He may feel like he’s been abandoned. ... He would have been devastated.”
Tom, a 37-year-old Vienna native, never returned to his McLean-based Youth Apostles home Friday night. He’s been spotted three times — once on Saturday and twice on Sunday — in the Virginia Beach area, but hasn’t appeared since.
Duesterhaus grew up in Vienna, according to his Facebook page, and graduated from Bishop O'Connell with the class of 1991. He graduated from the College of William and Mary in 1995, and began teaching at O'Connell in 1999, according to his page.
While the search continues on the ground, family, friends, colleagues, and former and current students took to Facebook and Twitter, mobilizing search efforts, blasting information and pleas for help, and wondering what exactly made the guitar-playing, community-oriented 37-year-old disappear.
The mystery behind the McLean man's disappearance deepened July 28, just three days before his 38th birthday, when his car showed up in a Northern Virginia parking garage about 200 miles away from where he was last seen.
Duesterhaus' car had been parked in the garage since June 17, the day he disappeared, his father Rich said in a Facebook posting.
A 51-year-old grandmother was found guilty of first-degree murder by a Fairfax County Circuit Court jury on Thursday.
Carmela dela Rosa was arrested Nov. 29, 2010, after she tossed her 2-year-old granddaughter, Angelyn Ogdoc, off a 44-foot pedestrian bridge at the Tysons Corner Center mall. The child died from her injuries in Fairfax Hospital less than 12 hours after the fall. Her grandmother was charged with the murder and incarcerated.
The jury has given Carmela dela Rosa 35 years in prison. There will be a sentencing hearing on Jan. 6, 2012, when a judge can decrease that sentence if he or she chooses but cannot increase it.
Commonwealth Attorney Ray Morrogh said the verdict given to Carmela dela Rosa was a "just result," but said trying the case was "grueling" and there were "no winners in a case like this."
"[There's] no joy," Morrogh said. "This is a scar that’s not going to go away.”
Jack Donaldson,12, died in September after being swept into a nearby creek.
Donaldson was reported missing around 6 p.m. after he had been playing in his backyard on Marcliff Court. Fairfax County police, fire and rescue personnel responded to the area to search for the boy. His body was found around 8 p.m. in Piney Branch Creek at Lawyers Road.
Donaldson was a student at the Dominion Christian School in Oakton. He was the son of Tim Donaldson and Anna Whiston-Donaldson and a brother to younger sister Margaret.
Roads in and around Vienna began to close Sept.8 as rain continued to pummel drivers in Northern Virginia.
Lawyers Road -- a typical spot for flooding during heavy storms -- was one of the first roads to close off to drivers, beginning around 2:48 p.m. at Garrett Road.
Roads backed up for miles, and also brought out some unusual antics, captured in a video of one man floating in an inner tube down Lee Highway.
Fairfax County Police are investigating a series of incidents in which young women are stabbed in the butt in retail stores.
The reports indicate a man follows young women into retail stores, causes a distraction, cuts them and then slips away, police said in a statement. The victims have all been women in their teens or early 20's.
Police responded to a call from Forever 21 in Fair Oaks Mall around 5:30 p.m. toward the end of July. An 18-year-old woman reportedly suffered a one-and-a-half inch wound in her butt.
The victim said she saw clothes fall off a rack, a man bend down to pick them up and then felt a sharp pain. She intially believed one of the hangers struck her, but soon found her jeans were slashed and she was bleeding.
Detectives are considering a possible link to four other incidents in Fairfax County retail stores since February. Before Monday, the most recent case occurred June 20 in a Marshall’s at Greenbriar Shopping Center.
Another incident happened at Tysons Corner mall on June 18, Police said.
Police have linked the suspect to several other stabbings since then.They identified a 40-year-old man as a suspect in September, and in December, said they believed the man may be in Peru.
This spring wasn’t looking great for the Dodgers.
The team from the Vienna Little League Majors wasn’t putting up the best record, struggling more than winning throughout a particularly difficult season.
So it would have been easy – and was easy – for the group of 12-year-olds to give up, to just show up to practices and games and go through the motions.
But not Jack Donaldson.
“I remember that very much about him: how hard he would swing the bat, how hard he worked in practice, how hard he would go after the ball,” Dodgers Coach Bill Womack said. “I said to the boys, that’s how we should all play, all the time, all season. That’s just the kind of kid Jack was.”
Womack and some of those teammates from the Dodgers took time before their Saturday game to honor Jack, who died suddenly in September, swept away by the overflowing Piney Branch Creek as he played alongside the area where it met his Marcliff Court neighborhood. His body was found two hours later near where the creek crosses Lawyers Road.
To lose 12-year-old Jack so suddenly has been “heartbreaking” for his father Tim, younger sister Margaret and mother Anna, she said in an email Sunday night.
To read Jack's full story, click here.
At 12 years old, Evan Soggin had already made a name for himself in the local hockey community as a fast ball of energy with a versatility that gave him big-league potential.
But he also boasted a list of other accomplishments that looked like it would someday run pages long: He was a hockey star, a budding equestrian, a thespian, a musician, a scholar of Tae Kwan Do, a recent graduate of Flint Hill Elementary School headed for middle school at Thoreau. A jokester who didn't do things quite the normal way but had an uncanny ability to make tears roll down friends' cheeks as their bellies ached with laughter.
Above all those things, friends and family say, it is Soggin's smile, loyalty, humor, compassion, spirituality beyond his years and "zest for life" that they are missing after his sudden death in July.
Soggin was riding his horse, Calvin, on Monday at his family's Oakton home when he was bucked and caught his foot in a stirrup, his father Steve said in an email. He was dragged before his horse kicked or stepped on him, and was flown to a local hospital. He underwent surgery for several hours, but died from severe internal bleeding, Steve said.
Evan is survived by his father Steve, mother Gyoen and brother Nick, a 17-year-old student at Madison High School.