When teenager Anjelica “AJ” Hadsell suddenly vanished in March 2015, the authorities suspected her adoptive father, Wesley Hadsell, to be involved. Soon, the investigation revealed multiple clues that seemed to tie him to Anjelica Hadsell’s murder. NBC News’ ‘Dateline: The Jacket’ focuses on how the investigators systematically put together the pieces and brought Wesley to justice despite his claims of innocence. So, if you’re wondering where he might be today, we’ve got you covered.
Who is Wesley Hadsell?
In March 2015, Anjelica Hadsell AKA AJ was home from university for her spring break. When the incident occurred, the 18-year-old was visiting her family in Tarrallton Area of Norfolk, Virginia. The teenager suddenly disappeared from her home, causing the Hadsells to be worried about what happened to her. Wesley spoke to the media initially and said, “My daughter is so responsible; she’s the glue of our family. This is a horrible situation with everything.”
A neighbor had seen AJ on the morning of March 2, 2015, driving toward her parents’ place in her car with another vehicle following close behind. According to Wesley, the same car was later in their driveway. He also mentioned that AJ was having problems with someone known to her, adding, “She was telling and texting her cousin and her friends she was having these issues with him, and he wouldn’t leave her alone. She was scared of a situation.”
However, Wesley’s behavior in the days that followed aroused the authorities’ suspicion. He broke into the house of Corey French, an old friend of AJ’s who lived close by. Wesley believed he had something to do with AJ’s disappearance and asserted that he found one of her jackets in Corey’s house. It was the same jacket she was seen wearing at the time of her vanishing. Wesley later admitted to hitting Corey’s pet dog.
As the case continued, the circumstantial evidence against Wesley kept increasing. GPS data from his work truck led the police to AJ’s burial site. She died of acute heroin poisoning. The police also located a scrunchie and a photo of AJ in the vehicle and heroin in his motel room. At the time, he was living away from home after AJ’s mother, Jennifer, kicked him out. Wesley’s drug dealer, Damon Harriet, later testified that he sold heroin to him on March 3, 2015.
Where is Wesley Hadsell Today?
Wesley Hadsell was eventually charged with AJ’s murder in 2018. His first trial ended in a mistrial in 2020 because there was an issue regarding what evidence jurors were allowed to hear. At the time, Wesley had a criminal history and ties to a white supremacy prison gang. In 2021, he was convicted of providing drugs to another inmate while in jail.
Wesley’s second trial began in January 2022, about seven years after AJ’s death. By then, he had been sentenced to 10 years in prison already in 2018 in an unrelated federal case. In AJ’s case, the prosecution believed that Wesley killed the teenager after sexually assaulting her. In February 2022, he was found guilty of first-degree murder and concealing a dead body.
Wesley maintained his innocence, saying, “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.” A couple of months later, he was sentenced to life in prison for the murder, 5 years for concealing the body, and 10 years for the earlier drug charge. Now 44, Wesley Hadsell remains detained at the Virginia Department of Corrections Headquarters.
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