15-year-old charged in the death of Marietta teen

scene of the homicide of the teen victim, police cars and aparment buildingsThe scene of the incident (photo courtesy of the Marietta Police Department)

A 15-year-old has been charged in the death of a 14-year-old girl who was reported missing. The incident took place on April 8, and the body was recovered the morning of April 9.

A public information release from Officer Chuck McPhilamy of the Marietta Police Department describes the events leading to the arrest as follows:

Marietta officers were dispatched around 8:20 PM Wednesday night April 8, 2020 to a report of an aggravated assault that had already occurred near 1805 Roswell Road.  Preliminary indications were that at least three juveniles were involved; two victims and one suspect reportedly armed with a knife.  When officers arrived, the caller reported he and his fourteen-year-old girlfriend got separated during the assault.  He stated he tried to find her but was unable and that she had been missing for approximately two hours before he called 911 for help.  Detectives were notified and a search of the area was conducted.  Early Thursday morning, April 9, 2020 the juvenile suspect was located and taken into custody for questioning.  Late Thursday morning the missing juvenile’s deceased body, now identified as fourteen-year-old Janina Valenzuela of Marietta, was located in the creek behind 1805 Roswell Road.  Marietta detectives, working with the Cobb County District Attorney’s office, have established probable cause to charge the juvenile suspect as an adult. 

[Editor’s note: it is the policy of the Cobb County Courier to withhold the names of suspects and defendants until either a conviction or guilty plea takes place]

A warrant was acquired for the 15-year-old suspect, charging him with malice murder, aggravated assault and concealing a death. He was arrested and booked into the Cobb County Adult Detention Center.

The investigation is active, and anyone with information is asked to phone Marietta Police Detective Michael Selleck 770-794-5372.  If you have information but wish to remain anonymous you can send tips via Crime Stoppers Greater Atlanta at 404-577-8477.