Missing man is found dead Pilius bludgeoned. 2 alleged abductors also charged in kidnapping of Hopkins physician

February 14, 1992|By Joe Nawrozki and William B. Talbott | Joe Nawrozki and William B. Talbott,Staff Writers

A 37-year-old engineer and father of four who had been missing since Tuesday was found today bludgeoned to death in a vacant East Baltimore rowhouse.

Homicide detectives and uniformed police found Vitalis Pilius about 10 a.m. in the littered basement of 2035 Mura St., a burned-out structure.

The discovery came after the arrests and interrogations yesterday of two people suspected of abducting Mr. Pilius Tuesday afternoon downtown.

Each of the suspects also is charged in last Friday's abduction of a Johns Hopkins Hospital physician who was forced at gunpoint into the trunk of his car and found about three hours later at Mondawmin Mall in West Baltimore.

One suspect is still at large. He is Dontay Carter, 18, of no fixed address, is charged in a warrant with first-degree murder, robbery and abduction in the murder of Mr. Pilius, police said.

The second suspect charged with the murder of Mr. Pilius is Clarence Woodward, 16, of the 2400 block of E. Hoffman St. He was arrested yesterday and also is charged in connection with last Friday's abduction.

Two women arrested yesterday with the Woodward youth were questioned and released, police said.

The physician, Dr. Daniel Ford, was not injured in last Friday's incident. Police said that Dr. Ford's abductors took his credit cards and purchased two mopeds and other items totaling about $5,000 in one night.

In the murder of Mr. Pilius, police believe the suspects used the victim's Signet automatic teller machine card and American Express Card to accumulate more than $4,600 in credit Tuesday and Wednesday before the victim's wife ordered a "stop" on both cards.

One of their last withdrawals was Wednesday from a Signet ATM machine in the 2000 block of E. Monument St., about a block east of the Hopkins hospital complex.

The major break in the disappearance of the well-liked Catonsville resident and customer engineer for the Hewlett-Packard Co. in South Baltimore came after the Woodward youth and the two women were arrested yesterday.

One of the victim's relatives, searching for any signs of the missing engineer, saw the suspects park the victim's car near Park Avenue and West Fayette Street and enter the Omni Hotel, 101 W. Fayette St.

The relative followed two men, the two woman and a child into the hotel. He watched them ride an elevator to the 14th floor and then called police.

The man and two women were then arrested. The other man escaped, police said.

Joseph Millington, a personnel executive with the Hewlett-Packard firm in the 3700 block of Koppers St., said today Mr. Pilius was "extremely well liked. His co-workers used their off time to search for him, his car, anything they could find."

Mr. Millington said the victim worked at Hewlett-Packard for three years and repaired analytical equipment.

He said the victim was married for 10 years and had four sons, including 3-year-old twins, a 6-year-old and an 8-year-old.

"He was extremely active in the Lithuanian community," Mr. Millington said. "As I said, he was well-liked. He was a big guy, 6 feet 1 inches tall and 195 pounds."

According to Hewlett-Packard's personnel department, Mr. Pilius was born in Baltimore and graduated from Catonsville Community College in 1983. He earned his bachelor of science degree from Johns Hopkins University in 1989, the year he started with Hewlett-Packard.

Mr. Pilius made his last service call about noon Tuesday at the Center for Marine Biotechnology at the New Community College of Baltimore's Harbor campus in the 600 block of E. Lombard St.

He apparently telephoned his wife, Aldona Theresa, and told her that he was running late but would be home in the evening.

Mr. Pilius did not showed up for his next appointment, at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

"That's when we knew something was wrong," Mr. Millington said.

Shortly after Mr. Pilius disappeared, a young man attempted to use the victim's American Express Card at the Budget Rental Car desk at Baltimore-Washington International Airport, according to Mr. Millington.

"The rental guy at the counter noticed on the card check the person with the card was not 37 years old," Mr. Millington said.

"So the manager held the guy and called the cops," he said. "They came and questioned him and let him go."

That account could not be confirmed with any police agencies.

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