Police identify body found in burned barn, but circumstances of death still unknown

January 17, 1996|By Ed Heard | Ed Heard,SUN STAFF

Howard County police have identified the body of a man found Dec. 16 in the burned ruins of an abandoned Cooksville barn, but investigators are still unsure of his cause of death or what he was doing there.

Glenn Arne Mitchell, 40, of an unknown address, was identified by dental records Friday.

However, police waited until yesterday to release the information.

There is no sign of foul play in Mr. Mitchell's death, said Sgt. Steven Keller, a Howard police spokesman.

The state fire marshal's office is still investigating the fire in the 14600 block of Frederick Road, and officials don't know if Mr. Mitchell played a role in the blaze, Sergeant Keller said.

A break in the investigation came when doctors found methadone -- a synthetic addictive narcotic drug used as a substitute in the treatment of heroin addiction -- in the then-unidentified body during an autopsy last week, Sergeant Keller said.

Police called area clinics that prescribe the drug and got a report from a clinic in Montgomery County that a man in its methadone treatment program had not been seen.

Detectives obtained Mr. Mitchell's name and his dental records, and then the state medical examiner's office made a match.

Police said Mr. Mitchell lately had been renting a room in Gaithersburg. He left a note at his home Dec. 15 indicating he was going out. Police don't know where he was going when he stopped in the Cooksville barn.

Mr. Mitchell was last seen at the Cooksville Carry-out at the intersection of Maryland routes 144 and 97 the evening of the fire, police said.

Rescuers responded to the fire late Dec. 15, but the body was found by workers clearing the barn site the next day.

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