Task force probing teen's 1993 death

September 27, 1994|By Gregory P. Kane | Gregory P. Kane,Sun Staff Writer

Eight of the county Police Department's best investigators have been assigned to try and solve the killing nearly two years ago of a Glen Burnie girl.

The task force, which began work yesterday, will reinterview suspects and review evidence in the case of Lisa Haenel, 14, who was stabbed to death in the woods between her home and Old Mill High School.

"We are not convinced this case cannot be solved," said Lt. Harry Collier, head of the crimes against persons division. "We have a lot of information on the case and are hopeful we could solve it. We haven't reached the point in the investigation that tells us there is nowhere else to go."

Detectives have more leads to follow up and more interviews to conduct, Lieutenant Collier said.

The teen-ager's nude body was found by her mother's boyfriend Jan. 16, 1993, at the bottom of a ravine near the high school, which the girl attended.

Police have speculated that shewas killed on her way to school between 6:45 a.m. and 7 a.m. the day before, a Friday.

Police have refused to say how many times Ms. Haenel was stabbed, but they have concluded that she was not sexually assaulted.

Seven members of the task force come from outside the homicide unit and will be assigned to the new unit for at least 45 days.

Two sergeants have been assigned to the task force, along with two patrol officers, one from the Southern District and one from the Eastern District. The other members are a senior homicide detective, a child abuse detective, a narcotics detective and an Eastern District detective.

The eight task force members have a total of 150 years of police experience, Lieutenant Collier said.

All eight were selected because they are excellent investigators, police said. Four members of the team will concentrate on suspects -- old and new -- and the other four will contact the girl's family, friends and associates to re-evaluate evidence.

The task force was formed a month after police announced they had been conducting DNA tests on the saliva of suspects in the case. Detectives found a discarded cigarette near Lisa's body with her blood on it but someone else's saliva. The DNA of 18 suspects tested has not matched the DNA of the saliva found on the cigarette, said Officer Randy Bell, a spokesman for the department.

Police administrators hope the task force can take the pressure off the homicide division, which has four detectives, Officer Bell said.

Homicide detectives are still investigating the September 1993 slaying of Joanne S. Valentine, an Arnold nightclub owner who was gunned down after she pulled into the driveway of her home.

The detectives also must investigate other cases not characterized as homicides -- manslaughter cases, for example, -- and may still be investigating homicide cases in which arrests have been made, Officer Bell said.

The homicide detectives "can't put all their eggs in one basket," Officer Bell said. "They have other cases to investigate."

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