Arrest in young mother's murder - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Arrest in young mother's murder

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Friends of a young D.C. mother who was murdered, last month, are expressing gratitude that detectives have made an arrest in the case.

When 22-year-old Shavon Phillips went missing on

July 30th, after dropping off her younger daughter at a child care center, some of her neighbors at the Benning Park Apartments project in SE Washington knew right away something was terribly wrong.

"When my daughter woke me up and said Shavon was missing," said neighbor Cookie Jefferson, shaking her head. "That was a hard feeling. I jumped up and was like, 'That can't be true because that's not her just to up and just leave like that.'"

The victim lived with her two year old daughter in an apartment in the complex. A security camera captured the young mother dropping off her daughter at a day care center the day of her disappearance.

Shavon Phillips' body (encased in two bags) was discovered a couple of days later in Swan Creek in the Ft. Washington section of Prince George's County. It was homicide by asphyxiation, according to the medical examiner. The young woman's apartment in SE Washington was apparently broken into and ransacked around the time of her disappearance.

Detectives in Prince George's County have now arrested 31-year old Joseph F. Jones of Mountain Lake Place, in Capitol Heights. Investigators believe he was an acquaintance of the victim.

"Miss Phillips was on her way to a car auction in Fredericksburg, Virginia," explained Maj. Mike Straughan of the Pr. George's Co. Police Department. "And we believe she was carrying $3800 in cash at the time that she disappeared. So, investigators, detectives from the Prince George's County homicide unit... believe the motive to be robbery.

Police say the victim's DNA has been collected from a van owned by someone else who is an acquaintance of the suspect, Joseph Jones. Jones has been charged with first and second degree murder.

A balloon is still attached to Shavon Phillips' apartment door, with condolence messages scrawled on the door.

"I just wish it hadn't happened," said Ella Delaney, another neighbor. She also expressed gratitude that an arrest has been made. But Mrs. Delaney also uttered a note of caution for others living in the neighborhood: "These young girls out here today just need to be careful of who they pick [to be] their friends."

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