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Search continues for man wanted in Alexandria woman's murder

In one day, the Choi family raised more than $20,000 for a possible reward.

FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. — It’s been nearly four weeks since Hannah Choi went missing. She was last seen on March 5 at 7 a.m. at her home in the 5300 block of Jesmond Street in Alexandria, Virginia.  

Despite her body not being found, or a suspect in custody, police are convinced they know what happened to her. Two arrest warrants have been issued for Choi's live-in ex-boyfriend, 27-year-old Joel Mosso Merino for second-degree murder and felony disposal of a body.

Fairfax County Police said they have compelling evidence 35-year-old Choi was killed by her former boyfriend in the home they lived in together before Merino disposed of her body in Piscataway Park in Prince George’s County.

“Detectives are working around the clock. We want to find Hannah and find her killer,” FCPD Major Crimes Cyber and Forensics Bureau Chief Ed O'Carroll said. “Our detectives are following up on leads because we're working this from two angles, to find Hannah to give closure to her family, but also find the killer responsible. We have active warrants for him. He is public enemy number one.”

While the hunt is on Hannah’s accused killer and her body, Choi’s family is desperate for answers.

“Not only was my sister's life taken away from our family through this act of violence, her remains also were taken from us in such a manner that we can't get any closure,” Minna Choi, Hannah Choi’s sister said. “We believe that we need to find him. We need to find who did this to my sister, we need to find out exactly what happened for us to even begin the healing process or to even begin getting a sense of closure."

RELATED: Family begs for closure in Alexandria missing woman case

To keep hope alive, the Choi family started a GoFundMe. More than $34,000 was raised in one day. Minna Choi said the money will go toward a reward and to a domestic violence and sexual assault charity

“It feels like there's really nothing that we can do as a family to on behalf of my sister, you know, to fight for her, to fight for her life, to fight for her means to you know, honor her,” Minna Choi said. “I think that's also a big reason why we started this campaign to give us a little hope and make us feel at least a little bit useful and productive in honoring her legacy.”

FCPD has not released details of an official reward, but an official said one will be forthcoming.

Meanwhile, searches are set to resume in the coming days for Hannah’s body as more digital data becomes available, allowing officers to better pinpoint cell phone locations.

“We're going go out there as soon as we can,” O’Carroll said. “We are watching the weather. We want it under ideal conditions so our search team can look. We use search and rescue dogs. We are deployed and have deployed our marine patrol to look up and down the Potomac. We're dedicated we're going to use all resources, all personnel to get closure to this case.”

Merino has not been since cameras captured him in the Atlanta area. Officials said that have not ruled out that he may have left the United States.

Credit: Fairfax County Police Department

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