Police continue probe into 'suspicious' death of 16-year-old student in Level Investigators await lab, vehicle reports

January 03, 1993|By Phyllis Brill | Phyllis Brill,Staff Writer

The investigation into the mysterious death on Nov. 25 of 16-year-old Nita Milak is continuing slowly, police say.

The John Carroll High School student's death was classified as "suspicious" after she was found unconscious in a pool of blood on secluded Wilkinson Road in Level.

Investigators are awaiting state police reports on crime lab work and a safety inspection done on the girl's 1990 Jeep Wagoneer, said Cpl. Edward Hopkins, of the Harford County Sheriff's Office.

The Jeep was found backed into a tree about 60 feet from Ms. Milak, who died less than three hours later at Maryland Shock Trauma Center. Sources said the Jeep's keys were in the ignition, which was turned off.

Police initially reported the death as a fatal accident involving a motor vehicle but later reclassified it as "suspicious." At the time of the accident, police said, the teen-ager had suffered severe head injuries.

In more than five weeks since the death, police have conducted dozens of interviews with relatives, friends and residents of the area in whichthe young woman was found. State Medical Examiner John E. Smialek performed an autopsy, but has not filed a final report with his conclusions.

"While the cause of death has been determined, the manner in which the injury occurred is still under investigation," said Dr. Smialek, who would not reveal any details on Ms. Milak's injuries. "We're still looking at additional information to determine whether the manner was accidental or a homicide."

Dr. Smialek said that among the pieces of evidence he has yet to consider are the state police crime lab analyses, still incomplete.

Louis Portis, director of the state police crime lab, which completed an examination of the vehicle more than two weeks ago, said that the progress of the investigation is not unusually slow.

"Some of the work we do can take weeks," he said, "because we oftenhave to run through a series of tests."

He said short staffing over the holidays and the fact that one unit conducting tests is handling more than 30 cases at once could account for the lab's delay in completing its report.

Crime lab reports, as well as results of a vehicle safety inspection conducted by state police, will be turned over to the Harford County Sheriff's Office.

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