Hagerstown police investigating suspicious death

August 01, 2010|By JULIE E. GREENE
  • Jeff Kercheval, center, a forensic scientist with the Hagerstown Police Department, talks with Hagerstown Police Officers William Decker, left, and Lt. Mike King, right, Sunday afternoon at a home at 208 N. Cannon Ave. in Hagerstown.
Joe Crocetta, Staff Photographer

HAGERSTOWN -- Hagerstown Police on Sunday were investigating the suspicious death of a woman in a neighborhood near Fairgrounds Park.

The 911 call came in at 10:39 a.m. at 208 N. Cannon Ave., according to Washington County Emergency Services. The caller noticed an odor from the home, went in to check and found a deceased person, a 911 supervisor said.

The young age of the woman has contributed to the police treating the case as a suspicious death, said Lt. Mike King with the Hagerstown Police Department.

"The person who resides here is a younger person and that's what we're looking at right now. It would not be somebody who we would expect to die of natural causes," King said.

The "state of the scene" also contributed to the death being treated as a criminal investigation, Capt. Mark Holtzman said.

Police had not yet confirmed whether the deceased was a tenant in the duplex near East Avenue.


Police also said there's a history of police calls to the residence.

King said police first need to confirm the person's identity and notify next of kin. Police were awaiting a search warrant early Sunday afternoon, he said.

The body will be sent to the state medical examiner's office in Baltimore for an autopsy, Holtzman said.

Neighbor Heather Burke and her husband, Kevin Allen, said they had been complaining to their landlord about a foul odor coming from the neighboring home, in the same duplex, since they moved in two weeks ago.

On Sunday morning, Burke again complained to the landlord about an odor and the two went into the home to search for its source, she said. She said she discovered what looked like a body in an upstairs bedroom and, scared, ran out of the duplex.

Approached for a comment, the landlord waved off a reporter.

Burke, 30, said she complained to the landlord several times about a foul odor. She said she can smell it in her apartment.

Hearing a dog bark from the neighboring apartment about a week and a half ago, she called the Humane Society of Washington County. The humane society removed a Doberman from the residence, she said.

Officials with the humane society could not be reached for comment on Sunday.

Last Wednesday, Burke saw two boys coming out of the residence carrying bags of trash they set at the curb, she said.

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