A father is now making funeral arrangements for his daughter the week of his scheduled wedding after the teen and her young boyfriend were found shot to death on a rural highway in Northern Virginia over the weekend.
Ayanna Munne Maertens Griffin, 19, of Maryland, and Ntombo Joel Bianda, 21, of Alexandria, were found lying in the grass just before 3 a.m. on an isolated stretch of Route 58, and a silver Nissan Maxima was found located in the median, according to Virginia State Police.
Family members told News4 that both were shot in the head once, and police said they are investigating the case as a double homicide. Family members also said the couple was driving to Danville, Virginia, to pick up a friend.
Griffin’s father told News4 that he was supposed to get married this week, but now he is making funeral arrangements for his young daughter.
"We were actually doing some last-minute wedding shopping. I was supposed to get married yesterday," Maertens told WSLS in a story published Tuesday. "There were some Virginia State Police agents that came knocking on our door as soon as we came home and they broke the news to us. ... I definitely now understand the words of a parent's true nightmare."
This isn't the first time her family has experienced loss. Ayanna's twin sister, Staisha, died from twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome when the pair were babies.
“Our special agents are diligently working to determine Mr. Bianda and Ms. Griffin's exact destination Saturday morning and the circumstances surrounding their tragic deaths alongside Route 58 in Halifax County," said Capt. David O. Cooper II, Commander of the Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation's Appomattox Field Office.
"We are exploring multiple possibilities to include there being a second vehicle involved, which is why it is so important for anyone who may have seen or heard something suspicious early Saturday morning along Philpott Road to reach out to state police,” the statement continued.
Police are asking anyone with information to come forward and reach out to Virginia State Police at 434-352-7128.
The couple's families did not respond for comment. A GoFundMe has been set up by Ayanna's family.