Police log for 5/9

May 09, 2003

Woman wanted in abduction jailed

A former Hagerstown woman wanted since August in the abduction of her 3-year-old daughter from the child's father and legal guardian was taken into custody Thursday and jailed.

The child's whereabouts were unknown and Hagerstown City Police Sgt. Michael King said Thursday the investigation would continue until the child is found.

In the meantime, Maria Margarita O'Brien, 41, last known address of Adams Avenue, was being held at the Washington County Detention Center Thursday night on $10,000 bond on four charges of abduction of a child by a relative.

Conviction on two counts of in-state abduction carries a maximum penalty of 30 days in jail and/or a $250 fine. Two additional counts involving out-of-state abduction provide for a maximum penalty of one year and/or a $1,000 fine on each count.


Police said they first became involved in the incident on Aug. 15 when Thomas O'Brien, the father and legal guardian of Maria Gabriela O'Brien, went to his wife's Adams Avenue home to have his daughter returned after court-ordered visitation with her mother.

When the mother refused to return the child, Thomas O'Brien contacted police and together they returned to Adams Avenue that same day. No one answered the door, police said.

Four days later, Thomas O'Brien returned to the home with police and a representative of the Washington County Department of Social Services and found no sign of mother or daughter, police said.

On Sept. 4, the child was entered into the National Crime Information Computer as a missing person and the case was referred to Detective Pat Moulton. After repeated unsuccessful attempts to locate mother and child, the charges were filed against the mother.

The FBI and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children joined the search when allegations surfaced that the mother fled the state with the child, police said.

On Thursday, Maria Margarita O'Brien appeared in Washington County Circuit Court for a scheduled court appearance, police said. At that time, she was taken into custody by Washington County Sheriff's deputies on the city police outstanding warrants.

Police ask that anyone with information on the whereabouts of the child call 301-790-3700 or Crime Solvers of Washington County at 301-733-4141.

Fire causes early school dismissal

FREDERICK, Md. - A fire in the laundry room at Linganore High School Thursday morning caused $10,000 in damage and forced the evacuation and early dismissal of the students, school and fire officials confirmed.

The school at 12013 Old Annapolis Road will reopen today on schedule for classes, officials said.

A gym teacher discovered the fire at 11:23 a.m. in the laundry room, which serves the custodial staff at the school, according to Deputy Maryland Fire Marshal Ed Ruch.

Smoke alarms in the area activated, Ruch said.

The cause of the blaze is undetermined, Ruch said, adding that his investigation was ongoing.

Damage to the one-story school building was limited to $1,000 while damage to contents was estimated at $9,000, Ruch said.

Firefighters from Libertytown, New Market, Mt. Airy, Union Bridge, Walkersville and Independent responded to the call. The fire was under control within 10 minutes.

There were no injuries.

Customers lose power in W.Va. community

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - Power was cut to about 1,000 Allegheny Power Co. customers in Charles Town Thursday morning, according to an Allegheny Power Co. official.

Allegheny Power officials began getting calls about the power outage at about 9:10 a.m., said Allegheny Power spokeswoman Tara Curtis.

Power was restored at 9:36 a.m., Curtis said.

Power was out in some government offices downtown, creating a slow start to the work day, county workers said.

Curtis said the power outage was caused when a device at a substation tripped and cut the power.

That can happen when wires touch each other somewhere in the system, Curtis said.

Home break-ins and attempts reported

The Washington County Sheriff's Department received the following reports Wednesday:

  • At 1:30 p.m. it was reported that someone broke in and stole $200 in cash from a dresser on the 11300 block of Quail Bridge Circle.

  • It was reported at 4:30 p.m. that a screen was cut in an attempt to get through a window on the 16800 block of Alcott Road. No damage information was available.

  • A home on the 25300 block of Cherry Lane was reported broken into at 4:30 p.m., but nothing was taken.

  • A window on a van was reported broken at 11:45 a.m. The damage to the van parked on the 300 block of Lanafield Circle, Boonsboro, was $200.
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