Slain woman worked on Block, police say

October 07, 1994|By Michael James and Brad Snyder | Michael James and Brad Snyder,Sun Staff Writers

Detectives investigating the mysterious killing of 19-year-old Debra Ann Goodwich are looking for possible clues on The Block, where the Greenspring Valley woman had been working as a dancer unbeknown to many of her friends and family.

Ms. Goodwich -- who was repeatedly shot Friday in her family's sprawling rancher in Stevenson when she is thought to have interrupted a burglar -- had worked at the downtown adult entertainment strip for about two months before her death, police and Block sources said.

And while police downplayed the possibility that her death was related to The Block, some of Ms. Goodwich's friends aren't so sure.

Whoever killed Ms. Goodwich had cut the phone and burglar alarm lines at her family's home in the 7900 block of Greenspring Ave. Ms. Goodwich, who had moved to an apartment in ` Baltimore three weeks earlier, stopped by to check her mail and was shot in the living room.

"I can't possibly fathom it's as simple as the [police] are making it," said Bonnie Miranda, Ms. Goodwich's best friend. "If you're breaking and entering, you don't cut the phone line as well as the alarm line."

But police said the cutting of communication lines is a common burglar tactic, leading them to believe the killing was likely a break-in gone bad.

"We're still putting the highest degree of probability on her interrupting a burglar," said Sgt. Stephen R. Doarnberger, a county police spokesman.

"However, we can't rule out The Block angle."

Police have received a few unconfirmed reports surrounding Ms. Goodwich's life on The Block, including a rumor that she had told friends she was recently being followed home from work and that she was once shot at by an unknown man.

The night before her death, three unidentified men from New York walked into a Block nightclub and were apparently looking for Ms. Goodwich, said a Block owner who spoke under condition of anonymity. Ms. Goodwich recently had gone to New York to an all-night dance party -- called a rave, her friends said.

Two Baltimore County police detectives went to the Stage Door Bar, one of two Block nightclubs where Ms. Goodwich danced under the stage names Autumn and Alex, earlier this week to interview her friends and co-workers.

Ms. Goodwich, a one-time student at the exclusive Garrison Forest girls school who hoped to someday become an actress, kept her dancer life secret from her parents and most friends. Detectives were the ones to inform grieving family members of Ms. Goodwich's connection to The Block.

Family members couldn't be reached to comment for this story. Ms. Goodwich's friends said she spoke of working at the seedy nightclub strip because she wanted to make extra money.

"She was a very smart girl," said Rico, a doorman at the 408, where Ms. Goodwich worked for about a week. He said Ms. Goodwich was "pretty classy" and didn't drink or use drugs.

Rico said Ms. Goodwich had told her she was making extra money for college. Ms. Goodwich had recently enrolled at

Catonsville Community College, with her parents apparently footing the bill, said Ms. Miranda.

"She worked at The Block because she liked to spend money, and she wasn't about to ask her parents for it," Ms. Miranda said. "She just did it so she didn't have to depend on anybody. She didn't like to take anything from anyone."

Ms. Miranda said her friend was clear about one thing -- that she would not become a prostitute, the fate of many Block dancers.

"There was no way she would ever do that. She didn't know how people did that," said Ms. Miranda, who went to school with Ms. Goodwich at the Garrison Forest school.

"Her line on it was just like any job, you don't really like it, you don't really hate it, you just make money," Ms. Miranda said.

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