Leyla Namiranian

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Above Images: Namiranian, circa 2012

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Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance

  • Missing Since: April 4, 2012 from Chesterfield, Virginia
  • Classification: Endangered Missing
  • Age: 41 years old
  • Height and Weight: 5'5, 150 pounds
  • Distinguishing Characteristics: Caucasian female. Brown hair, brown eyes.
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    Details of Disappearance

    Namiranian left her workplace in Chesterfield, Virginia, at 6:30 p.m. on April 4, 2012. Authorities believe she arrived at her home in the 2000 block of Normandstone Drive in Midlothian, Virginia, because her 2006 Mercedes-Benz was found parked in the garage. She never showed up for work the next day and has never been heard from again. There were no signs of a struggle or forced entry to her residence, but her purse and both of her cellular phones were missing. A co-worker of Namiranian's stated he went to her house and had dinner with her on April 4, staying with her from 9:00 to 11:00 p.m. He was the last person to see her before she vanished.

    Within a week of her disappearance, authorities recovered both of Namiranian's cellular phones. They'd been lying on the ground about a mile apart along Interstate 95 northbound near the Henrico-Hanover County line. One was on the shoulder of the highway; the other was in a ditch. Investigators also identified another person of interest in her case and searched his apartment. This man, Michael Anthony Edwards, had dated Namiranian for two years and has an extensive criminal record dating back to his teens, including drug offenses, grand larceny, armed robbery, abduction, aggravated assault and driving under the influence. In 1990, he was convicted of malicious wounding after he stabbed a former girlfriend with a butcher knife and nearly killed her; he also assaulted the woman's ten-year-old daughter. For this he was sentenced to twenty years in prison, with ten years suspended. In February 2012, Edwards's estranged wife asked for a protective order against her, saying he had threatened to kill her, burn her house down and hide her body where no one would ever find it. They later divorced.

    A photo of Edwards is posted below this case summary. He lived in the 4000 block of North Avenue in Richmond, Virginia at the time of his arrest. Namiranian said she was frightened of him and that he'd come to her house unannounced and threatened her life. They had broken up three months prior to her disappearance, and Namiranian said he hadn't taken it well. She told friends he'd choked her during a fight in February of that year, and in her diary she wrote she was afraid of his jealousy. She was so frightened that for several days she refused to stay in her own home. Namiranian wrote in her diary that she and Edwards had loved each other, but had nothing in common and little to say to each other. During their relationship, he was aggressive and possessive, frequently calling her and asking where she was and who she was with.

    Cellular phone records placed Edwards on Robious Road near Namiranian's home for over five hours the night she went missing, and also on Interstate 95 north, where her phones were found. He worked as a laborer and handyman at a trucking company in the Hanover Industrial Air Park, near where the phones were found. He lied to investigators and said he hadn't been to her house that night, but later admitted that he'd gone there to see her and spent several hours parked outside her home in the early hours of April 5. Towels, duct tape, a bucket, cleaning supplies and traces of blood were found inside his 2002 Cadillac, and dogs indicated the presence of human remains there, but DNA testing on the blood was reportedly inconclusive.

    It's extremely uncharacteristic of Namiranian to leave without warning; she was dedicated to her job and her loved ones stated she would call if she was going to be even a few minutes late for work. She had a good relationship with her ex-husband, who lives in Seattle, Washington. Her brother and father live in Italy, and she maintained regular contact with them. Namiranian last spoke to her brother three days before her disappearance. She told him she planned to meet someone she'd been corresponding with on the internet. Since her disappearance, she hasn't used any of her credit cards, and she left behind her passport, her cars, and over $85,000 in her bank accounts.

    In September 2015, Edwards was charged with first-degree murder in Namiranian's presumed death. He maintains his innocence in her case, describing Namiranian as a "nice person" and said he had only wanted to "show that lady a nice time," but authorities stated they had a "laundry list of evidence" that implicated him. At his trial in April 2016, his defense suggested Namiranian had walked out of her life or was killed by someone else. The coworker who spent the evening at Namiranian's home the night she disappeared testified at the trial; the prosecution theorized Edwards killed her in a jealous rage after he saw her with another man. Edwards was convicted of second-degree murder in April 2016.

    At the time she went missing, Namiranian worked as director of marketing and consumer research for the cigarette company Altria Group Inc.. Foul play is suspected in her disappearance due to the circumstances involved.

    Edwards
    Above: Michael Edwards

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    Investigating Agency
    If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
    Chesterfield Police Department
    804-748-1251

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    Source Information
    Virginia State Police
    CBS 6 WTVR
    Daily Research News
    NBC 12
    The Richmond Times-Dispatch
    The Daily Progress
    WRIC 8

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    Updated 3 times since October 12, 2004.

    Last updated December 12, 2016; details of disappearance updated.

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