Burned car searched for clues to homicide Autopsy awaited to identify remains of woman found shot

July 09, 1996|By Ed Heard | Ed Heard,SUN STAFF

Howard County police were combing the ruins of a burned vehicle for clues to a homicide yesterday, as they wait for autopsy results to identify the charred remains of a woman found shot to death in the passenger seat.

It has been three days since Howard County firefighters doused the burning white 1996 Honda Accord in a North Laurel apartment community. Police hope the car -- stolen from a Suitland resident at a Prince George's gas station a week ago -- will provide clues in the case.

"We're going through it with a fine-tooth comb for evidence, fingerprints, fibers -- whatever we can find," said Sgt. Tara Ball, a Howard police spokeswoman.

Police did not have a suspect or a reason for the homicide. It could be several days before the state medical examiner's office is able to identify the body, police said.

The State Fire Marshal's office is continuing its investigation to find out what was used to ignite the car. Fire investigators have determined that the fire was started inside the car on the passenger side, where the victim was found, said Bob Thomas, deputy chief state fire marshal.

About 12: 30 a.m. Saturday morning, residents of the Seasons Apartments in the 9700 block of Covered Wagon Drive reported a car on fire. Firefighters responded on two fire engines and quickly put out the fire before discovering a body in the passenger seat, police said.

Hours later, state medical examiners performed a preliminary autopsy, concluding that the corpse was that of a black woman about 5 feet 5 inches tall who had been shot in the head before the fire was set.

Yesterday, detectives were questioning residents in the neighborhood of apartments and townhouses just north of the Prince George's County line.

Pub Date: 7/09/96

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