Case of Norfolk teen found dead in Newport News being investigated as homicide; family holds vigil

Newport News

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — Newport News Police say they’ve found the body of Asia Cowell, a Norfolk 17-year-old who had been reported missing, and are investigating her death as a homicide.

Cowell was last seen in Norfolk on September 7. Newport News Police say Cowell was found dead near the woods in their city in the area of Warwick Boulevard and Fort Eustis Boulevard.

Investigators have not said how Asia died, and said they do not have suspect information.

“The Norfolk Police Department will continue to stand with Asia’s family during this difficult time,” said Norfolk Police Chief Larry Boone. “The Newport News and Norfolk Police Departments will not rest until we determine what happened to Asia. I ask those who may know to yield to the nature of their better angels.”

Newport News Police Chief Steve Drew said the case is a “top priority” and his department has reached out to the FBI for assistance. “Our thoughts and prayers are with Asia’s family and friends. My heart goes out to them. If anyone knows anything, I ask that you please contact the Newport News Police Department,” Chief Drew said.

Cowell’s family held a candlelight vigil in her memory at 7 p.m. Friday on the track behind Granby High School. It was streamed on this Facebook page.

Dozens gathered for the vigil.

“Getting that phone call that nobody wants, about their child, about their baby (cries) I just thank everyone for coming to support us,” her mother said.

“How dare somebody take that greatness out of this world. It’s not okay and it just breaks my heart, you know,” said Tatina Cowell, Asia’s aunt. “It’s been a lot of emotions. Sometimes I’m feeling numb. Sometimes its disbelief.”

Cowell’s family issued this statement:

“Our hearts are tremendously heavy. It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our dear, sweet Asia Cowell. We wish to thank the entire Hampton Roads community, and beyond, for all of the love and support shown over the past three weeks. There aren’t enough words to express our gratitude for each one of you. Asia brought us all together and we will work tirelessly to continue her legacy of love. Thank you for respecting our privacy during this difficult time.”

Anyone with information is asked to call the Crime Line at 1-888-LOCK-U-UP (1-888-562-5887) or submit a tip online.

The family is asking anyone with information to come forward as police continue to investigate.

“I sensed the care from Norfolk and I sensed the care from Newport News,” said Tatina. “So I know that Asia’s story, her case is in great hands.”

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