‘It was so dark; it felt so scary:’ aunt recalls finding body of missing teen

Published 4:14 pm Monday, January 30, 2023

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Eighteen-year-old Aonesty Selby’s own family – not sheriff’s deputies – were the first to find the missing Williamsburg teenager’s body lying on a dirt logging path in a remote area of Isle of Wight County.

Aonesty’s aunt, Ebony Selby, had set out with a party of family members the night of Jan. 13 to go looking for her niece. Their search ended up taking them across the four-mile James River Bridge, and another 20-plus miles south through Isle of Wight.

“I didn’t even know what county we were in. … It was so dark; it felt so scary,” Ebony recalled, speaking to The Smithfield Times by phone a week after the grisly discovery.

They’d been following location pings from Aonesty’s cellphone. The teenager had configured her phone to share her location with one of her friends, who’d then provided the tracker to the family after they reported Aonesty missing earlier that day, Ebony said.

After traveling past farm fields and through wooded areas, the search party arrived on foot at an iron gate marked with a “no trespassing” sign at the corner of Blue Ridge Trail and Orbit Road, roughly 3.75 miles northeast of the Windsor Food Lion. It was at that point that Ebony called police.

“They told us to go back, but we were too far in, we were closer to the ping than we were to our car,” Ebony said.

That’s where they found the dirt logging path and Aonesty’s body.

“We were hoping to just find her phone,” Ebony said.

Ebony remembers her niece as a “fun loving soul” with a “huge family” and “a lot of friends.”

“She loved kids,” Ebony said. “She loved to do hair and makeup and nails. … Very much a girly girl.”

Aonesty “had her life planned” and was hoping to attend either cosmetology school or to train as a phlebotomist, Ebony said. “I can’t believe we’re here.”

Three days later, the Isle of Wight County Sheriff’s Office and Newport News Police Department would arrest and charge 21-year-old Newport News resident Andarius McClelland with killing Selby.

Sheriff’s Office investigators contend in court filings that Aonesty left the Williamsburg home she shared with her roommate, Sabina Appel, at 1:18 p.m. on Jan. 11 for a date with McClelland, whom she knew by the name “Darius.” According to the court filings, Aonesty received $30 from “Lucas Duke,” which investigators say is another alias for McClelland, via a CashApp account she shared with another aunt, and used that money to hire an Uber driver to take her to an apartment McClelland shared with his brother, Andricus.

The car arrived at McClelland’s apartment roughly half an hour later, at 1:49 p.m. brother. Andricus, according to court filings, told police that Andarius and Aonesty were both at the apartment the night of her disappearance, and that Andarius had asked to borrow Andricus’ 2021 Dodge Charger to give Aonesty a ride home. The car was seen at 10:47 p.m. Jan. 11 leaving Isle of Wight and entering Newport News, and Andricus told police it had been returned to him covered in dirt.

Andricus also told police, according to court filings, that he’d discovered his Glock 9mm pistol missing from a nightstand drawer after Andarius left with Aonesty, and that when he’d confronted Andarius about the missing firearm, Andarius had told him he’d “needed to get rid of the gun” and had sold it.

On Jan. 16, the state medical examiner’s office in Norfolk determined Aonesty’s cause of death to be a single gunshot wound.

McClelland is charged with second-degree murder and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony. He is scheduled to appear in Isle of Wight County General District Court on April 6 for a preliminary hearing.