Drinking and drug use alleged at Severn home tenant, 2 teens arrested

One suspect's son, 11, died in April car accident with alcohol in his blood

June 12, 1998|By Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan | Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan,SUN STAFF

The father of an 11-year-old boy who died in an April car accident with traces of drugs and alcohol in his blood has been arrested and charged with letting teen-agers drink and smoke marijuana in his home, Anne Arundel County police said.

Edward Earl Cordova, 47, was arrested about 10: 15 p.m. Wednesday at his home at the 7900 block of McNeilin Way in Severn after county narcotics detectives searched the one-story ranch house for more than an hour on a search-and-seizure warrant. They found two teen-agers smoking marijuana and recovered a bag of the drug, Sgt. Jeff Price said.

Possession charged

Court charging documents said the search also yielded letters from Cordova's bedroom and his 14-year-old daughter's bedroom that said Cordova allowed his daughter to smoke marijuana and sometimes smoked it with her.

Cordova was charged with possession of marijuana, contributing to the condition of a child and keeping and maintaining a common nuisance, police said.

David Carroll Harrison, 18, who is unrelated to Cordova but lived at the address, and Cordova's daughter were arrested and charged with possession of marijuana after detectives said they found them smoking in the basement, Price said.

Price said the arrests were made during a two-month investigation that began after residents of the Gambrills community, where Cordova lived at the time, called police to complain about teen-agers coming and going at Cordova's home in the 2400 block of Flowering Tree Lane.

'End of the World'

He said the investigation intensified after Cordova's son, Edward Eric, died April 26 when he was ejected from a car that was driven into a tree during an afternoon joy ride on a curvy, Crownsville road that area teen-agers call the "End of the World."

The boy's father said then that teen-agers gave the bend the name because if you miss the curve and veer off the road, "you go off the end of the world."

Tests at the time of the accident showed that the driver had traces of alcohol in his blood, said police spokeswoman Deberah Mabe. She said police are still investigating the accident.

When his son died, Cordova said he was not aware the boy had ever drank or smoked marijuana.

"I saw it in the police report, and I don't believe it," he said.

Price said the accident generated new leads in the police investigation. "We were flooded with calls" from Cordova's neighbors, he said.

He said police began watching Cordova's home, and the surveillance continued after Cordova moved to Severn about three weeks ago.

Many of Cordova's neighbors in Gambrills said yesterday they were not surprised by his arrest. They said he had told them he was on disability.

"There were kids going to that house at all hours of the night," said John Morano, who lives across from Cordova's previous home. "I had a feeling something was going on over there."

But in Cordova's new neighborhood, a quiet, densely forested community with a handful of houses, residents were shocked at their neighbor's arrest.

'Quiet and polite'

"They were quiet and polite, even the kids," said Bob Thompson, neighbor and owner of Cordova's rented house, which is at the end of a dead-end street. He said Cordova told him "he moved here because the other house brought back memories of his son."

Price said that since the arrests, police have received a flood of telephone calls, some from teen-agers telling detectives they had frequented Cordova's home.

Price said police also are investigating whether marijuana was sold from the home.

Cordova's daughter has been released to the custody of her mother, who is divorced from Cordova and lives in Jessup, Price said.

Harrison, who said he was released yesterday morning, was back at the Severn home but declined to comment.

"I'm still pretty shaken up by it," he said, pacing outside the house, smoking a cigarette.

Cordova's bail was set at $5,000 yesterday afternoon at a hearing, during which he looked pale and tired and pleaded for leniency.

"I'm grieving for my son, who was killed in a car accident," he said. "And I need to be with my daughter right now to help her with her grieving process."

Pub Date: 6/12/98

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