Person of interest in Namiranian case has violent past

Posted at 7:12 PM, Jun 13, 2012
and last updated 2012-06-13 19:15:57-04

Richmond, Va. (WTVR)--Days have now turned to weeks in the disappearance of 41-year old Leyla Namiranian, an Altria marketing and research director, who was last seen April 4—almost three months ago.

CBS 6 news continues to follow the investigation into the disappearance of Leyla Namiranian, the Chesterfield woman missing since April. [Complete Coverage of Leyla's case here]

While police have leads including forensic evidence and two persons of interest in the case, no arrests have been made.

Meanwhile, family and colleagues of Namiranian are getting desperate for answers.

“If I’m a family member, I want this case to be resolved right now,” said Steven Neal, a former police captain and 30-year police veteran.

Neal, who is not connected to the case, said Chesterfield police are being careful and meticulous in their investigation.

“In theory, she could have left voluntarily left or she could have been abducted and is being held somewhere,” Neal argued.  “So when you have those types of unknowns in a case, it’s not unusual for it to take some time to get to the bottom of the investigation.”

What has caught the attention of Chesterfield investigators, however, is the violent past of a man who told police he had been dating Namiranian at the time of her disappearance.

Court documents reveal the 51-year old Richmond man has a long record involving violent assaults, abduction, drug charges, driving under the influence and larceny.

According to the documents, the man was sentenced in 1990 to 20 years in prison, with 10 years suspended, after stabbing a woman repeatedly in the mouth and under the arm.  Her 10-year old daughter was also assaulted in the attack.

Just three years earlier, in 1987, he was charged with four counts of abduction and one count of aggravated assault. 

In February of this year, court documents show the man’s estranged wife filed a protective order against him, claiming he had threatened to kill her.

Neal said that while investigators have more than likely honed in on this person of interest, he emphasized no arrests have been made.

“A person’s past can be an indicator of their future behavior but it’s doesn’t necessarily mean so,” said Neal.  “But if I’m looking at a series of suspects and one of them has a violent criminal past, then I’m going to pay particular attention to that individual.”

Chesterfield investigators have also interviewed an Altria executive who was one of the last people to see Namiranian before her disappearance.

CBS 6 has declined to release the names of the persons of interest in this case because they have not been charged with a crime linked to Namiranian’s disappearance.