Murder victim's car found at impound lot

June 29, 1994|By Ed Heard | Ed Heard,Sun Staff Writer

A five-day search for the stolen white sedan owned by a 74-year-old Silver Spring accountant who was strangled last week in a Jessup motel ended yesterday when Howard County police located the car on a police impound lot in Hyattsville -- where it had been since a few hours after the man's body was discovered.

Howard County detectives found the four-door 1990 Buick Park Avenue through an inter-agency computer search, matching the car's license number with one scanned by Prince George's County police about 7 a.m. Thursday.

That was a little more than two hours after the body of its owner, Shelton Woodrow Thigpen, was found on the floor of the Cedar Motel in the 8000 block of U.S. Route 1.

Police said the man's wallet and car had been stolen.

Prince George's officers, responding to a report of an abandoned vehicle in the 800 block of Thurman Ave., found the car on a Hyattsville resident's property, Howard police said. But since the car hadn't been reported stolen immediately after Mr. Thigpen was killed, a computer check by Prince George's County police turned up nothing and the car was towed away.

Police did not link the car to the slaying because Mr. Thigpen was not identified until Monday afternoon, when his wife recognized a police composite sketch in a newspaper. She provided police with the license number of her husband's missing car.

"Hopefully, we'll be able to find something that leads us to the suspect," police spokesman Sgt. Steve Keller said. "It could be fingerprints, it could be anything."

The car was being taken to Howard County police headquarters in Ellicott City yesterday afternoon, where it was to be searched, Sergeant Keller said.

Investigators have not identified the murder suspect, who is described as a slender Hispanic male in his 20s, standing 5 feet 7 inches to 5 feet 10 inches tall, with a dark complexion, hair and eyes.

A motel manager investigating noise in front of Room 105 saw the man drive off in Mr. Thigpen's car around 4:45 a.m. Thursday. Another witness from a Jessup retail store reported seeing the two men having a conversation in Spanish a few hours earlier.

Mr. Thigpen, a self-employed accountant from the 8100 block of Piney Branch Road, had been to the motel several times before he checked in shortly after midnight Thursday, according to witnesses. Police believe he was killed between 2:30 a.m. and 4:45 a.m. No motive has been determined.

Anyone with information should call Howard County police at 313-2220 or 313-3200.

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