Second-degree murder charge dropped for Wesley Hadsell; still facing first-degree murder charge in stepdaughter's death

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Posted at 4:22 PM, Feb 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-04 16:22:24-05

NORFOLK, Va. - A charge of second-degree murder was dropped against Wesley Hadsell, who is currently facing trial for the 2015 disappearance and death of his stepdaughter, Anjelica "AJ" Hadsell.

Hadsell still faces charges of first-degree murder and concealing a dead body regarding AJ's death.

Police say AJ, an 18-year-old college student, disappeared from her Norfolk home on March 2, 2015, while she was home for spring break from Longwood University. At first, police say they didn’t think foul play was involved in her disappearance, but as hours turned into days, the investigation became more serious.

Hadsell was arrested shortly after AJ's disappearance, but on unrelated charges. As Hadsell sat in jail, police continued to search for AJ.

Tips eventually led to an abandoned home in Southampton County on April 9, 2015, where police found human remains that were eventually identified as AJ's.

The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Norfolk ruled that her cause of death was "acute heroin poisoning."

Despite going to jail on other unrelated charges, in November 2018 Hadsell was charged with her death.

In 2015, Hadsell exclusively spoke to News 3 from behind bars, claiming he had nothing to do with his stepdaughter's death.

"I swear to you, I didn't hurt my daughter. I don't know who did. And if I did, I wouldn't protect them," Hadsell said.