Joseph “Joey” Vincent Merlino III was charged with second-degree murder on Feb. 16 in connection to the death of Ellie Mizon Tran, 35. The pair dated for about three years and had a 2-year-old daughter named Jolie, said Diamond Phan, Tran’s best friend of 10 years.
Tran died on Feb. 15 in Sentara Princess Anne Hospital, about a day after she was attacked in her Still Meadow Court driveway.
The Tidewater Chief Medical Examiner’s office is working to find out exactly what killed Tran, but police believe Merlino “touched her in a manner that caused her to be ill,” said Virginia Beach Master Police Officer Tonya Pierce.
Her family said that when Tran was attacked around 8 p.m. on Valentine’s Day she quickly became so sick that she collapsed, couldn’t speak, lost consciousness and needed a breathing tube.
Southside Daily will continue to report this case. Check back with us for updates.