The persistence of parents, the relentlessness of two Howard County police officers and a credit card led to the arrest of a murder-kidnap suspect and freedom for the couple he allegedly abducted.
Martin L. Goldscher, of the 2900 block of Falstaff Road in northwest Baltimore, said yesterday he called police departments in the city and Baltimore and Howard counties after his daughter, Kimberly Goldscher, 22, failed to report to work early Sunday at the Sinai Fitness Center in Owings Mills.
Authorities told him not to worry, he said. His daughter could have simply taken the day off, they reasoned.
"I told them that I know everybody tells them 'not my kid,' " Goldscher said, "that I know they hear that 10 times a day. But this is not her method. She's a very responsible person."
Goldscher told authorities his daughter had left Howard County Sunday morning with her boyfriend, Eric Cada, 24, of the 8300 block of Silver Trumpet Drive in Columbia.
The father said he remained in a state of panic until she and Cada were rescued by Howard County police early yesterday at an Elkridge motel where they were being held by a gunman.
During the harrowing 18-hour abduction, the gunman had taken them to Virginia and back.
Ricardo Burks, 31, of the 400 block of S. Augusta Ave. in the city, was arrested at the Terrace Motel in Elkridge shortly after 2 a.m. yesterday, authorities said. Baltimore County police charged Burks with kidnapping.
Baltimore police have charged Burks with the murder over the weekend of Marvin Odell Willis 3rd, 25, of the 400 block of Yale Ave., Irvington. Burks also is suspected of slaying three teen-agers over the weekend and dumping their bodies in Anne Arundel County, several hours before Willis was killed, city police said.
Kimberly Goldscher and Cada were abducted outside the fitness center about 7:45 a.m. Sunday, authorities said. The search for the couple began hours later after Martin Goldscher and Cada's parents repeatedly called area police departments for help.
The investigation gained momentum when Cada's roommate found Cada's credit card number and called the credit company to ask when the card was last used, according to Martin Goldscher and Howard County police.
The roommate was told that the card was used earlier that day at a Virginia restaurant and at an Arbutus motel.
Baltimore County and Howard County police then searched motels in the Arbutus area but got nowhere.
But Howard police Sgt. Curtiss Spanos and Officer Yvonne Stinchcomb decided to continue the search by stopping at motels along U.S. 1 in the Elkridge-Jessup area, said Sgt. Gary L. Gardner, a Howard police spokesman.
After coming up empty-handed at the first two motels, the officers went to the Terrace Motel. There, they found Cada's car. After checking with the motel clerk and learning that three people had checked into a room about 9 p.m., Spanos and Stinchcomb called for assistance, then stormed the room.
They found Burks awakening from his sleep with a .38-caliber handgun within his reach and a 9mm semiautomatic handgun in a shoulder holster nearby, Gardner said. Kimberly Goldscher screamed as she and Cada ducked for cover.
Police arrested Burks without incident.
Martin Goldscher said that, although it took hours to persuade area police departments to look for his daughter, he was relieved about the outcome.
"From the time they decided to get on it, they worked," he said. "They really did the job."