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ALEXANDRIA, Va. (WUSA 9) -- The Office of the Virginia Medical Examiner confirmed that an Alexandria woman found dead in her apartment on Friday died of strangulation.

The victim is 43-year-old Asabech Abayneh police ruled her death a homicide on Saturday.

Abayneh's family is sticking together in the midst of tragedy, comforting each other at her apartment where she was found dead by her nephew. "It's a sad thing that we lost her, we just want our closure," said her nephew, Yonas Mekonen.

Mekonen said that although she was his aunt, he considered her his mother. "She was a real mother, what real mothers are. She was my aunt but she raised us ever since we were little."

He can't fathom that anyone would want to hurt his aunt. "I have no idea. She's not a person anyone can hurt, she's the most genuine, loving, caring person I've ever known. I really wanna know, I wanna know who did this to her," said Mekonen.

This is the third homicide in Alexandria in 2014, but the first since Ruth Ann Lodato, who was shot and killed in her home, just 4 miles away from Abayneh's death.

Police said Charles Severance is the focus of the investigation into Lodato's death, as well as the murders of Ron Kirby last year and Nancy Dunning in 2003; also in Alexandria.

Severance has not been charged in those cases but is being held on an unrelated weapons charge in Loudoun County.

Although police said those murders are not connected this homicide, they know someone is responsible and they need the public's help. Detectives ask that anyone with information about her movement the past few weeks give them a call.

Meanwhile her family waits, hopeful for answers. "We really need closure to this and we want to know what happened," said Mekonen.

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