Vanessa Pham, Teen Found Dead in Car Crash, Was Stabbed to Death First, Say Police

Vanessa Pham (Personal Photo)
Personal Photo
Vanessa Pham (Personal Photo)

MERRIFIELD, Va. (CBS/AP) Police say the death of 19-year-old Vanessa Pham of northern Virginia was a homicide - even though her car plummeted into a ditch. Authorities say they discovered multiple stab wounds covering the victim's torso.

PICTURES: Vanessa Pham Murdered

Pham's body was found in her 2008 Toyota shortly after 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, reports the Washington Post.

Apparently, the car was going the wrong way on a one-way service road, hopped a curb and landed in a shallow ravine, reports The Washington Post.

Upon further investigation, police realized Pham - who had just finished her freshman year at the Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia - had been stabbed multiple times and was dead prior to the crash.

Police spokesman Bud Walker described Pham's cause of death as "trauma to the upper body" that was not consistent with the impact of the crash.

Vanessa Pham (Personal Photo)

He added, "we have no reason to believe she wasn't driving the vehicle."

According to the victim's mother Julie Pham, it is believed Pham went to visit friends around 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, and discovered her friends weren't home.

PICTURES: Vanessa Pham Murdered

Police aren't sure what happened to Pham during the next hour.

Grief-stricken friends and family honored the aspiring designer during a vigil Tuesday night, says CBS affiliate WUSA.

Julie Pham told The Washington Post she's "very outgoing, very popular. She gets along with everybody. She's funny. She's alive."

She added, "I don't know why somebody would kill her. We want to know why."

Anyone with information concerning the death of Vanessa Pham is asked to contact Crime Solvers at 1-866-411-8477.