Police hoping genetic tests yield break in girl's '93 slaying

August 18, 1994|By Gregory P. Kane | Gregory P. Kane,Sun Staff Writer

Genetic testing on a discarded cigarette butt may provide county homicide detectives with the break they need to solve the stabbing death of 14-year-old Lisa Haenel early last year.

The cigarette butt was scooped up from the area near the Glen Burnie girl's body on Jan. 16, 1993, by police laboratory technicians who thought it had blood on it.

The ninth-grader's nude body was found face down in a ravine near the Old Mill school complex by her mother's boyfriend, who was jogging.

She had been stabbed, but police would not say how many times. Her clothes were found near her body. Police found no evidence of a struggle or that she had been sexually assaulted.

Tests confirmed that the blood on the cigarette was Lisa's, but saliva on the stub belonged to someone else, county police Lt. Harry Collier said.

The test, a polymerase chain reaction, "is akin to the DNA test but not as accurate," Lieutenant Collier said. "It gives a percentage of the population that has the same characteristics."

Police are conducting DNA tests on suspects -- 15 so far -- but have yet to make a match. Technicians also are inspecting hair samples.

"As we develop leads and identify more people, we will do more tests," the lieutenant said. "It's an ongoing process."

Lieutenant Collier said he intends to assign two or three detectives and intensify the investigation. "This case has been a little bit more difficult than some others," he said.

The department also teamed up with WBAL-TV, which aired a "Missing Pieces" segment on the case last night.

Lieutenant Collier is hoping that a reminder of Lisa's death might bring information from the public.

However, previous attempts have not been successful. Last year, Crown Petroleum Co. rented a sign at Veterans Highway and Old Mill Road that pleaded for tips, and more than $10,000 in reward money -- $5,000 from the dead girl's father -- has been offered for information.

Detectives are hoping someone saw Lisa on Jan. 15 between 6 a.m., when she left her home, and 6:45 a.m. to 7:15 a.m., the estimated time of her death.

The path, near Shetlands Lane and Century Towne Road, is a popular shortcut through woods for students who walk from Rainbow View Apartments to Old Mill Senior High School and two Old Mill middle schools. Police believe Lisa, who lived in an apartment in the 300 block of Highland Drive, was on her way to school.

Lisa was described as white, 5 feet 7 inches tall, weighing 160 pounds. She had hazel eyes and shoulder-length brown hair.

She was last seen wearing blue jeans, a gray sweat shirt, white leather sneakers, a blue "Old Mill" band jacket, white socks and a purple shirt.

Anyone with information about Lisa Haenel's death is urged to call county homicide detectives at 222-3450.

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