After year, student's killer still not caught Parents of victim renew hunt for leads

April 19, 1996|By Jim Haner | Jim Haner,SUN STAFF

It's spring, almost a year after Bill and Fran Sirbaugh's lives were torn asunder, and they're back out on the streets of Baltimore plastering telephone poles with pictures of their daughter -- offering a reward for information leading to her killer.

Police still have no promising leads in the June 21 slaying of Keri Ann Sirbaugh, the 21-year-old American University student who was found strangled and beaten in a densely wooded gulch outside her apartment in the 6400 block of Everall Ave. in Northeast Baltimore.

Since then, her friends and family have held benefits to build a $25,000 reward fund; they've posted her case on law enforcement bulletin boards on the Internet; they've installed a 24-hour hot line in their home to take tips from callers; they've appealed for help to every media outlet in town.

"We've done everything we could think of, and some that never (( occurred to us at the time," said Mrs. Sirbaugh. But, so far, nothing seems to have helped -- not even the psychological profile of Ms. Sirbaugh's killer generated by the FBI Behavioral Sciences Unit at Quantico, Va.

"It was just as vague as anything we've been able to surmise on our own," said Detective David W. Neverdon of the Baltimore police. "They feel that it's somebody who knew Keri, maybe not on a personal or intimate level, but at least somebody who had seen her around the neighborhood enough to know her routines and habits."

Tips have come in from cybersleuths as far away as New York and as close to home as Towson. Anonymous strangers have phoned in rumors and gossip after seeing the family's latest round of posters in Ms. Sirbaugh's favorite hangouts around Fells Point. And her friends at Louie's Bookstore Cafe on Charles Street, where she was a waitress, still call with occasional bits and information.

"We follow every tip, every lead," said Detective Neverdon. "It's still very much a live investigation. But so far we haven't gotten anything promising."

In the meantime, her family has tried to get back to something approaching a normal life. Her father recently returned to work as a carpenter. Her mother is a receptionist in a doctor's office. At night, they sit by the "hot line" phone in their living room in Hamilton, praying for it to ring.

Tomorrow, there's another benefit -- a $25-per-ticket bull roast at the Parkville National Guard Armory -- to raise more money for the reward fund.

"We're still angry, still depressed," Mrs. Sirbaugh said. "It's been a roller coaster through hell. She was our little girl. Now, all we think about is getting this animal off the street. He needs to be found, and dealt with."

Anyone with information about the case can call Metro Crime Stoppers at 276-8888 or detectives Neverdon and Robert Patton in the Baltimore Police Homicide Unit at 396-2100.

Pub Date: 4/19/96

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