Baltimore man arrested in Yukon

February 24, 1994|By Michael James | Michael James,Sun Staff Writer

A Baltimore man was arrested last night in the Yukon and charged with killing his girlfriend -- also from Baltimore -- in a town in western Canada where the couple had stopped overnight on a car trip to Alaska.

Philip Lawrence Edward Nelson, 20, of the 2800 block of Mayfield Ave., was arrested at a motel in Whitehorse, about 200 miles east of the Alaska border, said Cpl. James Nadon of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).

Mr. Nelson had been the subject of a nationwide search in Canada since Monday, when the body of his girlfriend, Danielle Vaness Coady, 19, of the 200 block of S. Eden St., was found outside a motel in Esterhazy, Saskatchewan, the RCMP said.

He had driven more than 1,500 miles through rugged areas of British Columbia and the Yukon before the RCMP tracked him down.

Ms. Coady, who was traveling with Mr. Nelson from Baltimore to Alaska, was strangled during an overnight stay at the Esterhazy motel.

Esterhazy, a farming town with a population of about 1,500, is in eastern Saskatchewan, off a highway used by travelers headed to Alaska.

"The local residents were shaken up. It's a very, very quiet farming community just west of the Manitoba border," Corporal Nadon said. "There's never any trouble there. It just so happened that someone stopped and used it as their killing ground."

Mr. Nelson, who uses the alias Philip Morris, is charged in a warrant with second-degree murder, RCMP said. Canadian investigators planned to fly to Whitehorse today to question him about the slaying.

"We have no idea what his motives were. After the killing, he was seen about 100 miles up the road, where he was asking a gas station attendant about how he could get a bus ticket to Alaska," Corporal Nadon said.

The RCMP got a break in the case when a truck driver called them last night and said that he had just picked up a motorist whose car was disabled in the Yukon and that he had given him a ride to a motel in Whitehorse, Corporal Nadon said.

Mr. Nelson was arrested without incident at the motel.

Baltimore police helped the Canadian police in gathering information in the case. City police determined that Mr. Nelson left Baltimore Thursday with Ms. Coady and his 18-month-old son, whom he had picked up that day from his wife.

The boy was still with Mr. Nelson at the time of his arrest last night and is now in the custody of Canadian social services officials. The child was unharmed, mounted police said.

Baltimore police said they had no charges pending against Mr. Nelson and had received no information indicating that he had abducted the child.

Ms. Coady, formerly of Baldwin, agreed to go on the Alaska trip and had taken her cat along for the ride, Baltimore police said. Mr. Nelson was planning to visit a friend in Alaska, they said.

Mr. Nelson was not carrying any weapons at the time of his arrest, the RCMP said.

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