Missing man ruled dead

Police think Demyon victim of foul play

widow gets estate

`We can have a Mass now'

June 30, 1999|By Joan Jacobson | Joan Jacobson,SUN STAFF

Cynthia Demyon can finally have the burial Mass for her husband -- a ceremony she has planned for the last 2 1/2 years.

Yesterday -- in the latest twist in Thomas G. Demyon's suspicious disappearance -- a Baltimore County Circuit Court judge declared the Stewartstown, Pa., man legally dead, even though his body has never been found.

"I can't say there is a lot of closure, but we can have a Mass now. That will help," said Cynthia Demyon, who carried a rosary during the daylong hearing before Judge Barbara Kerr Howe.

Thomas Demyon -- a gambler who frequented Las Vegas and Atlantic City and was financially supported by his father -- disappeared Jan. 13, 1997, two weeks after his father's death from a stroke.

He vanished just as he was about to take over his father's troubled Timonium business.

Friends, relatives and a Baltimore County police detective testified yesterday that they believe he was the victim of foul play when he disappeared.

After Howe announced that Thomas Demyon "is no longer a living person," his wife put her head on the trial table next to her lawyer, Stephen L. Prevas, and wept.

The judge's ruling allows Cynthia Demyon and her 10-year-old son, Gregory, to inherit her husband's $125,000 estate, which has been in a trust for more than a year.

She said she wants to use the money to buy a car so she can attend nursing school and get a part-time job where she and her family now live in rural West Virginia.

Thomas Demyon's disappearance came at a tumultuous time for the small company that his father had founded and which formed the basis of the family's income.

The company, Tomkar Corp., makes a patented device called Safety Sight to monitor radiator fluid in truck engines.

The elder Demyon's business partners -- who subsequently bought the business -- had obtained a restraining order in Circuit Court barring the younger Demyon from the company after he was accused of siphoning money from the firm.

But that order expired just hours before Thomas Demyon's disappearance and at a time when he was looking forward to taking the reins of the business. In fact, if he had not disappeared, he would have inherited the company.

At yesterday's hearing, Cynthia Demyon and others recounted the details of what they believed were the last hours of Thomas Demyon's life.

Cynthia Demyon recalled it as "the most frigid, frigid, cold night that I can remember," and said her husband's pager went off at about 6 p.m. in his father's Timonium condominium, where the family stayed without a phone.

The pager showed the phone number of Demyon's lawyer, John Austin. Demyon's last words to her were "I'll be right back," and he drove to a pay phone he regularly used at a nearby Days Inn. He left a voice mail message at Austin's Towson law office.

But the lawyer was puzzled the next day when he heard the message, because he had never paged Demyon, he told the judge yesterday.

Police Detective Joseph M. O'Shea testified that although he has found no physical evidence of a homicide, he also found no indication that Demyon is alive after checking his credit cards, Social Security number and interviewing his friends and relatives.

"I believe there is a strong possibility of foul play," O'Shea said in court. The detective noted that out of 1,000 missing persons cases reported to county police, there are only three cases in which neither a dead body nor a live person have been found.

After yesterday's hearing, Cynthia Demyon said she will continue to push investigators to solve the disappearance.

"I still have a lot of fighting to do for my husband," she said.

Pub Date: 6/30/99

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