Ex-girlfriend asks fugitive to give up

Whitehead makes public plea in letter to Palczynski

7th day of search

March 15, 2000|By Nancy A. Youssef and Jay Apperson | Nancy A. Youssef and Jay Apperson,SUN STAFF

ANDRE F. CHUNG — Joseph C. Palczynski's estranged girlfriend -- the woman he is accused of abducting a week ago -- has pleaded with him to surrender.

"You told me you never loved anyone like you love me. If you really love me show me by turning yourself in," Tracy Whitehead wrote. "Please do this for me."

The letter -- addressed to "Joby," Palczynski's nickname -- was signed with a drawing of a heart, and signed "Tracy (Squirrel)."

Authorities early today continued to search for Palczynski, who is wanted in four killings.

Whitehead's letter was read aloud yesterday afternoon by David Henninger, a Towson attorney and longtime friend of Palczynski. Standing before television cameras at the police command post in Middle River, Henninger appealed to Palczynski to come out of hiding, the seventh fruitless day of the search.

"A lot of people care about you," Henninger said. "I've talked to the police. They want to end this peacefully. We need the killings to cease."

The lawyer said he would help the fugitive, adding, "Give me a call tonight."

Police said they wanted Whitehead to write the letter so Palczynski could see it was in her words.

"We did this because we're trying to reach out every way we can to Mr. Palczynski," said Bill Toohey, county police spokesman. "We're telling him he can bring this to a peaceful end with no more hurt to him or anyone else, that the police don't want to hurt him, we just want to bring this to an end."

Also yesterday, the FBI in Richmond, Va., issued a federal arrest warrant for Palczynski, charging him with kidnapping, carjacking and felony possession of a weapon.

Officials believe Palczynski broke into a Virginia home over the weekend, stole weapons and a truck and drove about 25 miles before the truck ran out of gas. Police believe he walked to the home of William L. Terrell, 54, in Woodford, Va., and forced Terrell to drive him to eastern Baltimore County.

Police say Whitehead was abducted March 7 from the Bowleys Quarters apartment of George Shenk, 49, and his wife, Gloria Jean, 50. Whitehead moved in with the Shenks two days after she filed assault charges against Palczynski. Police believe the abductor killed both Shenks.

Also killed was David Meyers, 42, a neighbor of the Shenks, who tried to help Whitehead.

Palczynski also is wanted in the fatal shooting of a woman during an attempted carjacking the next night.

Officials continued yesterday to examine items they have recovered in Gunpowder Falls State Park and Dundee Saltpeter Park. Sources said police have not been able to connect the items -- which include clothing, a backpack, tents, food wrappers and bedding -- to Palczynski.

"They were checking the fingerprints on the tuna cans they found [Monday] and they didn't come up with anything," said Toohey. "Lots of people have been through those woods. Lots of people camp there."

Nearly 100 officers and 20 dogs searched in Essex and Middle River yesterday. Searchers have concentrated on areas near railroad tracks.

Baltimore County police and Maryland forest rangers spent more than three hours yesterday morning searching a wooded area off Carroll Island Road in Bowleys Quarters, near a railroad spur that leads to a Baltimore Gas & Electric power plant.

In the afternoon, police with search dogs were seen walking beside Eastern Boulevard near Bowleys Quarters Road, at Chase Elementary School and in nearby woods.

Terrell said Sunday that on the trip to Baltimore County, Palczynski made him stop at several stores to purchase camping items and a battery-operated television. Terrell said that Palczynski handed him cash and told him what to buy.

"We got everything but the Snickers bar," Terrell said.

Terrell said Palczynski told him that if he did not return, Palczynski would kill the first person he saw.

Police believe Palczynski -- who grew up in Bowleys Quarters -- is a lifelong outdoorsman, who knows the woods in the area well.

"The bloodhounds are picking up scents, but no leads," said Capt. Joseph Burris, commander of the Essex precinct, where the search is centered.

Friends and neighbors of Palczynski said he and Whitehead had a stormy, two-year relationship.

"They were both very obsessive [about] one another," said a woman who said she knew them, but who did not wish to be identified. "He said she thought he was cheating. She said he would not let her have any friends."

In her letter, Whitehead talked of better times with Palczynski.

"We shared alot of special moments that I would never forget and we had alot of fun together. You helped me alot with my problems," she wrote. "The other night in the woods you told me how much you loved me and wanted to marry me. You told me you never loved anyone like you love me."

The letter ends: "I know you have alot of good in you, so let's bring this to an end. I know you can do it!!"

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