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'You left a family hurting' | Father of teen found dead after he'd been missing for 1 year addresses son's alleged killer

"Hopefully we can get justice from this," Jonathan Ward, Brian Ward's father, told WUSA9 one day after he learned about the arrest.

WASHINGTON — Police have arrested a 24-year-old man in connection to the death of a 17-year-old boy who was reported missing in 2020.

According to the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), Brian Ward was considered critically missing after he was last seen in late September 2020. His family was concerned, saying it was highly unusual for Brian not to contact them. 

On Dec. 2, 2021, police found the teen's remains while investigating a report of a possible shooting in Laurel, Maryland. An autopsy showed Brian died from multiple gunshot wounds. 

Nearly a year later, 24-year-old Brandon Nguyen was arrested in connection to the teen's death. He has been charged with Second Degree Murder While Armed. 

"Hopefully we can get justice from this," Jonathan Ward, Brian Ward's father, told WUSA9 one day after he learned about the arrest. "You [Nguyen] left a family hurting pretty much for the rest of their lives."

According to new court documents, Nguyen shot Ward at least six times in his car during a drug transaction in the 300 block of  Allison Street in Northwest. 

Through an app, Nguyen reportedly agreed to sell Ward marijuana. Ward, who witnesses say was armed with a gun, got in the passenger seat when the situation escalated. 

Nguyen claimed he was being robbed by Ward, and managed to take the gun away and shot him. 

He said he drove away with Ward still in the car before throwing away the gun. Nguyen told police he dumped his body in the woods in the 6900 block of Contee Road in Laurel, not far from his home. 

His father said Nguyen moved to California to stay with relatives months a few months after Ward went missing. 

Jonathan Ward said he was unaware of drug activity and argued the story of what happened in the car are all claims from the suspect.

"You took somebody away," Jonathan Ward added. "Even if he was doing wrong and you were doing wrong, two wrongs don't make a right. We're just losing a lot of young people to the senseless killings and someway, somehow, it has to stop."

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