The police said yesterday that they have no suspects in the slaying of a 35-year-old psychiatric counselor whose body was found late Thursday on a road that runs alongside Leakin Park.
Hope Sarah Patterson of the first block of Brubar Court, Gwynn Oak, died from a gunshot to the right side of the head, the police said. No motive has been established for her killing. Police believe that she was shot and killed on the road.
"I'm really surprised. She stayed to her herself, but she could handle herself," said Jada R. Patterson, an 18-year-old nephew of Ms. Patterson. He said he doubted that the assailants could have lured Ms. Patterson anywhere unless they did so at gunpoint.
Ms. Patterson was described by relatives and friends as a loving, caring person, who devoted her life to helping others unable to help themselves.
Mr. Patterson said his aunt had attended the University of Maryland, where she obtained a degree in social work.
Relatives said they last saw Ms. Patterson alive at a family wedding last week.
She had worked for about three years at Changing Directions, a psychiatric counseling center operated by Johns Hopkins Hospital to help people who have been hospitalized with psychiatric problems return to society.
'We're just devastated," said Thomas E. Arthur, executive director of Changing Directions. "She will be sorely missed. She was very caring to the people she served. We're still in shock."
He said that Ms. Patterson worked with 15 to 25 people at a time, helping them become independent and self-sufficient after a stay in a hospital.
A motorist spotted Ms. Patterson's body lying in the roadway in the 1900 block of Wetheredsville Road about 11:30 p.m. Thursday and notified police, said Dennis S. Hill, a police spokesman.
Mr. Hill said the victim's purse was found intact with all her papers and 11 cents in change.
Her car was found about 9:30 a.m. yesterday on a street near Forest Park.