HAVRE DE GRACE, Md. (WJZ) — A 19-year-old pleaded guilty Tuesday in the 2017 murder of a 15-year-old girl who was found dead in a Harford County trash can weeks before her 16th birthday.

Police found the body of Maleigha Solonka in a wooded area of Weeb Lane in Havre de Grace on Aug. 16, 2017. Solonka had been reported missing on Aug. 10, 2017 in Edgewood.

Maleigha Solonka

Although police continued to investigate the girl’s murder and had a person of interest, no arrests were made for a year. The coroner ruled her death homicide by asphyxiation.

But on Aug. 28, 2018, police arrested 17-year-old Naeshawn Perry in Solonka’s death. Perry was 16 at the time of the murder.

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Havre de Grace police detectives had interviewed Perry numerous times, but ultimately linked him to the case with DNA, the county’s state’s attorney’s office said.

Perry pleaded guilty in Harford County Circuit Court on March 10, 2020.

Naeshawn Perry

His sentencing is scheduled for June 4, 2020.

The 15-year-old was an all-star-athlete and adored by many.

“She was very ambitious, beautiful, loved by everyone she met,” her grandmother Donna Elliott, who lived with Solonka for more than five years, said.

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