FRANKLIN, Va. (WAVY) — Testimony continued Friday in the murder trial of Wesley Hadsell, who is charged in the disappearance and death of his stepdaughter AJ, 18, in the spring of 2015.
Developments Friday included testimony from AJ’s mother Jennifer, the contentious relationship between Wesley Hadsell and another of Jennifer Hadsell’s ex-husbands, and the results when Norfolk police searched Wesley Hadsell’s hotel room and van.
Jennifer Hadsell now goes by the name Jennifer Wright. Her daughter AJ had returned home for spring break from Longwood University in early March 2015. The third day she was home, she disappeared.
Her mother remembered seeing a note on the kitchen table in AJ’s handwriting saying “with everything going on, I have a lot to deal with.” A month later, AJ’s body was found in a rural section of Southampton County on Smith Ferry Road.
Jennifer Wright said Wesley Hadsell began acting oddly after AJ went missing, trying to tell police who to investigate, including one of AJ‘s former boyfriends.
Wright testified that AJ never made any mention of any sort of sexual assault or unwelcome touching by her stepfather.
The medical examiner said AJ’s cause of death was heroin poisoning. A Norfolk forensic investigator who searched the hotel room where Wesley Hadsell was living back then testified he found a bag of drugs that later tested positive for heroin.
The investigator also said he found a picture of AJ and a woman’s hair scrunchie in Wesley Hadsell’s work van. The GPS unit recovered from the van located it in the rural Southampton location where her body was found.
Zachariah Hoffer, who was Jennifer Hadsell‘s husband prior to Wesley Hadsell, said he had conversations with Wesley Hadsell after AJ disappeared. Hoffer testified that Wesley Hadsell changed his story the day AJ was found, saying that she was a drug user, but her family and friends deny that she ever used drugs.
The trial continues Monday and will last at least another week.