Woman killed during apparent abduction Body found after ransom is dropped off, suspect escapes, police say

June 05, 1996|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,SUN STAFF

A woman who called a relative pleading for help after apparently being abducted Monday night and held for a $1,500 ransom was found dead early yesterday in Clifton Park, the victim of a gunshot wound to the head.

Tonya Barfield, 23, of the 3900 block of Southclare Road in East Baltimore was pronounced dead at the scene about 2: 30 a.m. A police officer on patrol found the woman's body lying face down off St. Lo Drive, about 25 yards from a gazebo.

Relatives of the dead woman -- the mother of three girls, ages 8, 4 and 1, and pregnant with a fourth child -- said yesterday that they scraped together $900 and delivered the money to an ordered drop spot at East Biddle Street and Patterson Park Avenue. They said one of the abductors got the money, but was missed by police.

"I wish that they find the person who did this and put him away for life," said Margo Jones, 30, the victim's cousin. "I can't believe it happened to her. She didn't know anyone. She just liked being with her kids. She was a home person."

Sam Ringgold, a city police spokesman, said detectives knew of no suspects or motive in the case as of yesterday afternoon.

The incident began Monday about 10: 30 p.m. when Ringgold said Barfield called her aunt "and said she was being held against her will and she needed $1,500 or the people holding her were going to kill her. The aunt immediately called the police."

Ringgold said a second call was made to the aunt's house later that night, apparently by a man holding Barfield, who demanded $1,500 and threatened to kill the woman.

Taneka Jones, another cousin of the victim, said she briefly talked to one of the abductors on the phone. She described the man as angry and persistent. "I got off the phone and I said, 'Oh Lord, they got Tonya,' " Jones recalled.

Jones said that the caller threatened to kill the entire family if his demands were not met. During the last of three calls, Jones said: "I asked to speak to Tonya and the man said she was already gone."

The relatives said that family members managed to collect $900 and, with police, went to the East Baltimore location. They left the money near the corner, they said, and a suspect picked it up.

Police yesterday confirmed that the money drop took place and that the suspect escaped with the money. They would not elaborate.

Pub Date: 6/05/96

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