South Dakota police say a 20-year-old woman who went missing and was found dead this week is the victim of a homicide.
Pasqalina Esen Badi was abducted around 5 a.m. Jan. 5 outside a Wal-Mart where she worked.
A passerby found her body the following day around 3:10 p.m. on a rural road outside of Sioux Falls, about 15 miles from Wal-Mart.
On Wednesday, the coroner made a preliminary ruling that Badi died from asphyxia due to strangulation.
Police say Amir Hasan Beaudion Jr., 19, is a person of interest in her death.
Beaudion has been charged with attempted first-degree kidnapping and aggravated assault for allegedly attempting to kidnap another Sioux Falls woman on Jan. 1. That woman was walking to her vehicle in a grocery store parking lot on Jan. 1 about one and a half miles from where Badi was abducted when Beaudion allegedly pushed her inside the car, threatened her with a knife, jumped into the driver’s seat and attempted to drive off.
“He couldn’t drive off because the car was remote and there were no keys in the ignition,” Sioux Falls Police officer Sam Clemens tells PEOPLE. “[The victim] told him there were people around so he took off running.”
So far, he has not been arrested in connection with the abduction and killing of Badi.
“He is still the primary suspect,” says Clemens. “We are still trying to put things together.”
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Police say surveillance video of the abduction of Badi allegedly links Beaudion to the crime. In the video, police say Beaudion is seen following Badi to her vehicle and climbing into the front passenger seat. The car is then seen leaving the Wall-Mart parking lot.
“We know he got into the car with her and the car left,” Clemens claims. “What happened in between we are still piecing together.”
Clemens says it is unclear if the two knew each other.
Clemens says a loss prevention officer who worked at another Wal-Mart recognized Beaudion in the video.
“He recognized him from some previous contact,” he says.
Beaudion was taken into custody after a traffic stop on Monday evening, the Argus Leader reports. He is being held on a $250,000 bond.
He is scheduled to appear in court Thursday, according to the Argus Leader.