Virginia Beach mom attacked on Valentine’s Day was poisoned with cyanide

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – A friend of the Tran family said the Ellie Tran’s parents were notified cyanide was the poison that killed their daughter after the Valentine’s Day attack.

The friend told News 3’s Kim Cung, a Vietnamese interpreter called Tran’s Mom, Oanh Le, to say cyanide was what poisoned Tran to death. Tran was taken to the hospital, where she died later.

Prosecutors say Tran was attacked Valentine’s Day in her driveway by Joseph Merlino who grabbed her and injected the poison into her leg. Merlino and Tran were estranged but had a daughter together. The attack was caught on surveillance video and Le identified Merlino as the attacker.

In a previous bond hearing, a judge did not grant Merlino bond, saying the charges were too serious. Merlino’s attorney maintained his client’s innocence, saying he was not in the area at the time of the crime.

Merlino’s next court appearance is August 24.

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