Body found on trash heap is identified Woman last seen on Christmas Eve

February 17, 1993|By Michael James | Michael James,Staff Writer

A woman found dead in a trash bag Monday on a garbage heap in an East Baltimore neighborhood apparently died of a drug overdose and was dumped on the refuse pile by a drug addict, police said.

Charlene Carter, 32, of the 900 block of McDonogh St., a mother of six who was last reported seen alive Christmas Eve, was found Monday at 4 p.m. by a private worker removing trash in the 1700 block of Ashland Ave. The worker attempted to lift a trash bag and it ripped, revealing skeletal remains.

Four of Ms. Carter's children, ranging in age from 8 to 15, were watching when police supervised the removal of the then-unidentified remains. Two younger children were not present.

Police are awaiting results of toxicology tests performed by the state medical examiner's office, but the preliminary indication was that the cause of death was an overdose, investigators said.

Ms. Carter's body was probably dumped on the refuse heap by someone who didn't want an overdose victim to be discovered in his or her house, investigators said.

"It's a profoundly sad commentary, but that's what it seems to be," said one investigator.

The alley corner at the intersection of Ashland Avenue and Arnold Court is used by some residents of the drug-infested area as a dumping site. It was last cleaned out by the city in November, police said. The site is one block from where Ms. Carter and her children lived, in her father's house.

Ms. Carter's sister, Nadine Carter, expressed shock and horror last night about the news that her sister's body had been dumped in a trash pile.

"People don't put a dog in a trash bag. You just don't throw a human being in a bag and leave them there," she said.

Ms. Carter said her sister had never been married, "got high once in a while," and was unemployed. Charlene Carter went out on Christmas Eve to visit friends in the neighborhood and never came back, her sister said.

"She was supposed to come home and open presents with her kids on Christmas. We didn't know what happened," Nadine Carter said.

The neighborhood has brought its share of tragedy to the family, she said, noting that Charlene's twin sister was paralyzed by a gunshot wound eight years ago.

The family waited until Jan. 18 to report Charlene Carter missing. "We thought we'd find her, eventually," Nadine Carter said.

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