The death of 15-year-old Tiffany Artina Fouts remained a mystery to police yesterday as friends and family mourned the teen-ager whose body was found in the woods near an Edgewood townhouse development.
Tiffany had been at a party with five or six other young people at a house in the Harford Square development on Charlestown Drive on Saturday night.
Investigators were trying to determine what happened in the hours before she was found dead at 8:45 a.m. Sunday.
Alcohol had been present at the party, and an adult was in the house, said Sgt. Edward Hopkins, a spokesman for the Harford County sheriff's office.
Preliminary autopsy results were inconclusive, and police would not speculate on how Tiffany died or got into the woods.
Sergeant Hopkins said investigators were awaiting the results of toxicology tests to determine whether alcohol or drugs were in her body.
Meanwhile, the sheriff's office continued to investigate the death as a homicide, Sergeant Hopkins said.
Authorities said Tiffany was not wearing a coat or jacket when she was found -- after a night in which temperatures dropped from the mid-60s to freezing and a wintry storm with high winds and snow swept through the area.
A woman who was walking her dog discovered the body.
"This is not a clear-cut case of homicide because the obvious signs, like a gunshot or knife wound, aren't there," Sergeant Hopkins said.
However, he said criminal charges could be brought if an adult in the house knew that Tiffany and other under-aged minors had been drinking.
No one answered the door at the townhouse yesterday, but at Tiffany's mobile home -- a five-minute walk away on Red Oak Avenue -- her family and friends recalled an outgoing Joppatowne High School sophomore who "didn't like anyone to be unhappy."
"My daughter was a good girl," said Sarah Heinle, Tiffany's mother. "She did not drink, she did not take drugs, she was not a runaway."
Dave Heinle, her stepfather, said Tiffany had been spending the weekend with a girlfriend who lived close by, and the girls decided to go to the party Saturday night.
Mr. Heinle said Tiffany did not drink and did not like the smell or taste of alcohol.
"If she was drinking it was because of peer pressure, pure and simple," he said.
More than 20 people were crowded into the mobile home, friends and relatives who wept and hugged each other for comfort while they talked about how they would remember the teen-ager.
Tiffany's aunt, Cheryl Krol, 27, said her niece took karate classes, played softball and enjoyed school, especially her German class, and was a cheerleader.
Tiffany was looking forward to her 16th birthday in September.
"She couldn't wait until she got a car," said Nicole Fouts, 11, Tiffany's sister. "That's all she talked about."
Christina Rushing, 16, remembered her as a special friend: "She was the kind of friend everyone wanted. Tiffany didn't like anyone to be unhappy. She would do everything she could to make you feel better."
Michelle Kinsey, 16, said counselors were at the school yesterday morning to help students deal with Tiffany's death.
"I can't believe she is gone," Michelle said.