Body of suspect in Ohio child's death is found hanging in Jessup cemetery

April 11, 1993|By Lan Nguyen | Lan Nguyen,Staff Writer

The body of an 18-year-old Ohio man, suspected of killing a friend's daughter, was found hanging from a tree near a Jessup church yesterday, in an apparent suicide.

Howard County police identified the man as David May, of Columbus. Ohio police had identified Mr. May as a suspect in the apparent murder of a six-year-old girl whose body was found in her mother's Columbus home Friday, a day after Mr. May is alleged to have stolen the mother's car and left Ohio.

He was found hanging from a tree in the cemetery of the Asbury United Methodist Church in the 10400 block of Guilford Road around 8 a.m. yesterday by a motorist, Howard County police spokesman Michael Sherman said.

A 1983 Oldsmobile reported stolen from Columbus was parked nearby, he said.

Mr. May onced lived in Gaithersburg and has a grandmother who lives in Laurel, but police aren't sure whether he visited her, Detective Sherman said.

Mr. May became the subject of a nationwide search after Columbus police found the body of Amanda Witt, 6, in a closet in her mother's home as they were interviewing the mother about the child's disappearance. A friend who was present discovered the girl's body slumped in a closet.

Mr. May, an unemployed high school dropout, had been living with the girl's mother, 27-year-old Patricia Witt, for several months and was baby-sitting for the girl and her 2-year-old sister Thursday, police said.

The mother told police she was away on a job interview when she returned home and discovered Mr. May and Amanda were missing. The two-year-old was unharmed.

"She came home, and the child was missing," said Columbus homicide detective James McCoskey. "Her friend was missing -- the child and him, and her car."

Ms. Witt's third child, a 10-year-old son, was away at a grandparent's house, Detective McCoskey said.

On the day the dead girl was reported missing, neighbors had combed the tree-lined apartment complex with a creek in the back, calling out her name.

Detective McCoskey said a medical examiner had not finished an autopsy on the girl's body. "The cause of death has not been positively determined yet," he said.

He said Mr. May had been charged with kidnapping and car theft and was a prime suspect in the girl's death.

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