City Police today were seeking the 300-pound boyfriend of a 43-year-old woman who was scalped as she slept last night in the bedroom of a house in the 1100 block of N. Carrollton Ave. in West Baltimore.
The woman's scalp was cut off from her forehead to the back of her neck, police said.
"Never in my 18 years of police work -- and I've seen some pretty bizarre things -- have I seen anything quite like this," said Homicide Detective David Brown. "We don't know the exact motive. They were boyfriend, girlfriend. Obviously, something went wrong in the relationship."
Police said a resident of the house answered the door about 8:10 p.m. and was met by the suspect, who asked to use the bathroom. The visitor left the house about 10 minutes later and drove off in a car, police said.
Several minutes later, another occupant of the house entered a second-floor bedroom and found the victim, Sheila Cowherd, of the 1100 block of N. Carey St., semiconscious and bleeding heavily from the head,police said.
Police said that while an ambulance crew was treating the victim, an officer found Cowherd's scalp on the floor under the bed. The woman's scalp was taken to the Shock-Trauma Unit in Baltimore by the ambulance crew, police said.
Cowherd had emergency surgery at Shock-Trauma. She was in fair and stable condition today, a hospital spokeswoman said.
"Besides being in a great deal of pain, she will have to fight off infection for some time," Brown said.
Residents of the house told police Cowherd had been out drinking before she arrived at the Carrollton Avenue house where she knew one of the residents. She fell asleep and the occupants said they heard no sounds of a struggle.
Brown said the house is occupied by a group of elderly citizens who have banded together because of economic hardship.
"This home is clean and organized," the detective said. "One of the residents knows the couple. The victim had come there in an intoxicated state and asked if she could lie down because she wasn't feeling well."
Police said a warrant would be issued for the arrest of a suspect, who weighs about 300 pounds and is about 60 years old.
Brown said a weapon was not recovered but several double-edged razor blades were found in the room where the attack occurred.