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Police open cold case to community for help

April 15, 2010|By HEATHER KEELS

HAGERSTOWN -- Monday will mark the two-year anniversary of the day 22-year-old Carol Marie Brown was found dead in her Mitchell Avenue home, and Hagerstown Police Department investigators are renewing their pleas for help in finding her killer.

"We've been actively working the case for the past two years, but all of our avenues of investigation are really starting to run dry," Sgt. Paul Kifer said Thursday.

Brown, a single mother with two young children, was found dead April 19 on the second floor of 457 Mitchell Ave. Her death was ruled a homicide.

Police are continuing to withhold details about the case, including the cause of death, for investigative purposes.

"It's a unique enough case that a lot of that information is too important to the investigation to release any specific details," Kifer said.

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Kifer did say police were confident Brown's death was not a random killing.

"It would be someone who was at least associated" with Brown, he said.

In the years since the slaying, police have identified, located and interviewed many people who were involved in Brown's life before her death, but they have not collected enough information to prosecute the case and have run out of new people to interview, Kifer said.

Kifer and Assistant State's Attorney Gina M. Cirincion sat down Thursday with local reporters to talk about the case in hopes of refreshing the community's memory and soliciting tips that could get the investigation moving again.

"We don't want this to drag on and be a 20-year-old cold case," Kifer said.

When crimes go unsolved that long, people move out of the community, making it increasingly difficult to get information, he said.

Police are asking that anyone who knew Brown during the six months to a year before her death to contact police to be interviewed, even if they don't think they have information relevant to the case.

"We're trying to put together her life prior to the murder," Kifer said. "Who she was with, who she was running with. There may be a piece of information that you, as a person calling, doesn't really think is important, but with all the information we've gathered in this case, that little piece of information may be a little piece of information we need."

Brown was also known as Carol Maphis, a family member said after her death.

Kifer said Brown was involved in the "drug world" and many of the people she associated with were in that world.

"Not her whole life was there; part of her life was in that world," he said.

Anyone with information on Brown or her death may contact the police department's criminal investigation division at 301-790-3700, ext. 234, or e-mail crimetip@hagerstownpd.org.

Kifer said the calls or e-mails may be made anonymously and the police department will not try to track down those who want to be anonymous.

"What we want is the information," he said. "If they want to give us a direction we can go in so they can help us solve this case, that's fine; we'll accept that information."

Kifer encouraged those who might be reluctant to share information to put themselves in the shoes of Brown's friends and family.

"I want to remind them that this was a 22-year-old, young female, who did not deserve to die at 22 years old the way she did," Kifer said.

"How would you feel if it was your daughter, if it was your sister, if it was your best friend?" he said. "How much would you want other people to come forward?"

He stressed that solving the case could potentially prevent another tragedy.

"We look at it this way," Kifer said. "Anybody that can commit murder, if you do it once, it can be far easier to do a second time."

Brown's case is the most recent of the four or five "cold case" homicides being investigated by the Hagerstown Police Department, Kifer said. A case is considered cold when the investigation stops moving forward, he said.

The department's oldest cold case homicide dates from the early 1980s, he said.




IF YOU KNOW SOMETHING...



Police are asking anyone who knew Carol Marie Brown -- also known as Carol Maphis -- in the months before her April 19, 2008, death to call the Hagerstown Police Department Criminal Investigation Division at 301-790-3700, ext. 234, or e-mail crimetip@hagerstownpd.org. The caller or person sending the e-mail may remain anonymous.

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