Police suspect slaying is drug-related City woman's body found after apparent abduction

June 06, 1996|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,SUN STAFF

Police investigating the apparent abduction and slaying of a 23-year-old East Baltimore woman are looking at possible links to a large-scale drug organization, sources close to the investigation said yesterday.

The victim, Tonya Barfield, is described by city and federal sources as a "player" in a drug ring from which a lot of money recently was determined to be missing. A source said that as much as $150,000 could be missing.

Police said yesterday that they knew of no suspects.

Barfield's body was found early Tuesday near a gazebo in Clifton Park. She had been shot in the head, apparently after being abducted while walking Monday night in the 300 block of W. 28th St.

Barfield called her aunt and said she had been kidnapped and was being held for a $1,500 ransom. Relatives called police and scraped together $900, which they took to a drop site at Patterson Park Avenue and Biddle Street.

Northeastern District officers went to the aunt's house in the Claremont public housing complex, put a tap on the phone and called robbery detectives, who investigate abduction claims.

Sam Ringgold, a police spokesman, said the family rushed to deliver the money to the drop site.

"We had expressed a desire for the family to give a little more time to put the necessary things in place so that it was a controlled payoff," Ringgold said. "The family expressed a desire, in the best interest of their loved one, to move."

He said that not all of the surveillance was in place when Barfield's boyfriend left the money on top of a metal box. The suspects got away with the $900, he said. Barfield's body was found a few hours later.

Officers were called to the 3900 block of Southclare Road -- where Barfield lived -- about 12: 30 p.m. yesterday when someone reported seeing a man with a gun.

A man punched an officer who responded. Police took him and five other people into custody and questioned them, but made no arrests in the slaying.

Tonya Barfield is related to Tarrone Barfield, who has faced more than a dozen criminal charges since 1991 -- from assault to drug dealing to two counts of murder. He once was charged with hitting Tonya Barfield.

Most of the cases were dropped or placed on the inactive docket. Prosecutors dropped a 1992 murder charge and Tarrone Barfield was found not guilty of murder in 1995. He has several cases pending on drug dealing, robbery and handgun possession charges.

Pub Date: 6/06/96

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