Murder Probe Continues

Police and fire scan

October 13, 1991

WESTMINSTER — Investigators continued efforts late last week to determine whether human remains gathered from a wooded farm in Harney are those of a missing Pennsylvania woman.

The remains, found Sunday on a 300-acre farm in the 4700 block of Baptist Road, were turned over by police tothe State Medical Examiner's Office for analysis on Wednesday.

Police were led to the secluded site Sunday by James Howard VanMetre III, a suspect in the rape and killing of Holly Ann Blake, a missing 28-year-old mother of two from Bonneauville, Pa.

Blake, a waitress in a Gettysburg, Pa., restaurant, disappeared Sept. 26, the sameday she was seen getting into a cream-colored Subaru with Tennessee tags registered to VanMetre, police said. VanMetre met Blake at the restaurant about a week earlier, police said.

A self-employed tree trimmer, VanMetre was picked up last Saturday in Chattanooga, Tenn., on a 1987 bench warrant for violating a protection-from-abuse order filed by his estranged wife.

In an unrelated case, VanMetre was arraigned Monday in District Court on 10 charges in connection with a knife-point rape in Reading Township, Pa., on Sept. 15. VanMetre was being held in the Adams County Prison in Gettysburg on $350,000 bond.


A 23-year-old Westminster resident was in satisfactory and stable condition late Friday while recovering from injuries suffered Thursday when his motorcycle collided with a car on Route 27 near the Route 140 overpass.

Andrew J. Klein was flown to the Shock Trauma Center at University Medical Center in Baltimore after the 3 p.m. accident. Klein was northbound on Route 27 on his 1987 Honda Hurricane motorcycle when he was hit by a 1986 Buick Sky Hawk driven by Patrick J. Sofsky.

Sofsky, a 22-year-old Baltimore resident, was attempting a left turn onto the westbound Route 140 ramp whenthe accident occurred. Sofsky, who was not injured in the mishap, was cited for pulling into the path of the motorcycle, police said.


An 11-mile high-speed chase from Westminster to Taneytown ended in the arrest of a Taneytown man on drunken-driving charges, police said.

Westminster police arrested Steven D. Sonn, 28, of the 400 block of Taney Drive, early Thursday.

Among the 14 counts Sonn was charged with were driving while intoxicated, eluding police, driving with a suspended license, speeding, drug possession and assault and battery, police said.

A Westminster police officer observed a 1990 Honda sedan traveling at high speed westbound on Route140 near Sullivan Road just before midnight Wednesday, police said. A second Westminster unit, a state police cruiser and a Taneytown unit gave chase.

The driver stopped in the Taneytown Baptist Church parking lot on Sells Mill Road and fled on foot before he was caught by the officers.

A search of Sonn's car produced a pipe and severalsuspected marijuana seeds, police said.


SYKESVILLE -- Stephanie Rohrer of Klee Mill Road was crowned this year's Miss Carroll County Fire Prevention at the Union Bridge Fire Hall last week.

The 16-year-old Westminster High School senior represents Gamber Volunteer Fire Company.

Rohrer said she is looking forward toher year of making people more aware of the things they can do to prevent fires.

"I'm still a little surprised that I was picked," said Rohrer last week.

To win the title, Rohrer had to answer two questions -- what fire prevention meant to her and what should be done when pots and pans on the stove catch fire.

Rohrer will spend much of her time gearing up for the Maryland Fire Chiefs Association annual Miss Fire Prevention contest Nov. 24. In June, she will go to OceanCity to compete for the title of state fire prevention queen.

Rohrer said she became interested in the county contest through her sister, who is a junior firefighter.


Crime Solvers, a volunteer group that assists area police, is asking residents to help solve the Crime of the Week.

This week, the group is targeting the theft of newspaper boxes from the K mart store and Super Fresh supermarket in the Carrolltowne Mall.

Police said the theft of thetwo yellow, coin-operated boxes occurred some time between Sept. 1 and Sept. 3.

Police did not release an estimated value of the stolen boxes.

If you have any information about this crime, or believe you may know who is involved, please call Crime Solvers at (800) 562-TIPS.

You do not need to give your name, and if your information leads to an arrest, you could earn up to a $1,000 reward.


Please report crime tips to these hot lines: 857-TIPS (drugs) and (800) 562-TIPS (Crime Solvers). All calls are confidential and you do not have to give your name.

Here is a compilation of some of the crime reported to local and state police:


Intersection of Winters and Court streets: Numerous scratches on parked vehicle Oct. 3. Estimated loss: $1,000.

East Green Street: Theft of clothing and cassette tapes from parked vehicle Oct. 7. Estimated loss: $395.

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