Society

Woman Vanished After Online Date, Was Found Slain

| by Michael Doherty
Angela RussoAngela Russo

The body of an Arizona woman who had been missing since April was found dead, and a man that she met online has been charged with her murder.

Angela Russo, 24, met Lashawn Johnson on a dating website and met with him on April 19. Russo had been missing ever since the meeting, according to CBS. Her remains were found in a shallow grave in the desert about 50 miles outside of Phoenix. Russo's car was reportedly also found nearby, badly burned.

"It does actually give us a slight bit of closure," said Russo's mother, Diana Schalow. "You go to sleep with different pain but [...] we've gone searching for her so many times."

"Am I surprised? No," said Schalow. "I was saddened. I was hoping it was going to end differently."

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Police have said that there was "significant" evidence of foul play in Russo's death, according to KNXV. Johnson, 25, was already in custody for charges not related to Russo's death, but he was rebooked and charged with first-degree murder on May 29.

"She did not know him. [She] was just trying to go out on a date to get to know somebody," said Schalow.

Police investigating the case warned of the dangers of meeting strangers online, and urged caution when meeting a date from the internet.

"Let friends know or meet at a public place or go with another friend or never go back to a person's house," Maricopa Detective Doug Matteson advised.

The Find Angela Russo Facebook page had a statement from Russo's family, thanking friends for their expressions of love and support, and asking that the family's privacy be respected while they mourn.

"I’m just going to make sure that she is remembered as the beautiful person that she was," said Schalow. "Our baby was a beautiful, loving, caring daughter and sister."

Police have not yet released Russo's cause of death. Russo's family and friends held a candlelight vigil for her May 10, which would have been her 25th birthday.

Source: CBS, KNXV, Daily Mail / Photo credit: Facebook via Daily Mail

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