Slain girl was not listed as missing Absence of report delayed identification of body, police say

April 23, 1996|By Dan Thanh Dang | Dan Thanh Dang,SUN STAFF

A 16-year-old Millersville runaway, whose decomposed body was unearthed a week ago from a shallow grave in southwestern Baltimore County, was never reported missing by her family, police said yesterday.

Baltimore County police charged David Michael Fischer, 20, of the 6000 block of Chesworth Road in Catonsville on Wednesday with the slaying, but detectives were unable to identify the victim as Ji Na, of the 1000 block of Rustling Oaks Drive, until Friday.

Police had been searching for the girl's body since January after an undercover officer received a tip from an informant about a man bragging about killing a girl in an abandoned Catonsville house. The informant finally led police to the half-naked body on Tuesday in a wooded area off River Road in Oella.

An autopsy was unable to determine the cause of death, but police believe the teen-ager was killed sometime in September. It was unknown whether she had been raped, police said.

"Because she wasn't listed as a missing person, it was more difficult to identify her," said Bill J. Toohey, a Baltimore County police spokesman, who added that detectives "needed assistance from the State Police lab to obtain fingerprints in order to identify her."

The fingerprints lifted from the body were then matched to fingerprints on file at the Anne Arundel County Police Department, where Ji had been reported missing by her family on at least two occasions in the past two years, Mr. Toohey said.

The teen-ager, who was a student at Severna Park High School, had run away from home once in December 1994 and again last year, on April 15, according to Anne Arundel police. On the second occasion, the young girl returned the next day, police said.

But sometime after that incident, police believe, Ji left home again, only to call her parents later "to let them know she was OK," Mr. Toohey said.

Police did not know why her last disappearance was never reported. When reached at their home in Millersville yesterday, her parents tearfully declined comment.

Detectives searching an abandoned house in the 1100 block of N. Rolling Road last week recovered evidence of a violent crime, said Sgt. Kevin B. Novak, a Baltimore County police spokesman.

Mr. Fischer, who was denied bail last week on the murder charge, was awaiting trial on an earlier charge of trying to burn down the vacant house on Rolling Road, police said.

Pub Date: 4/23/96

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