Death of man found in park investigated as a homicide

Police make appeal to public for information

September 06, 2000|By Laura Barnhardt | Laura Barnhardt,SUN STAFF

Stewart Anthony Garfield left his family's Pioneer City townhouse Friday morning, assuring his mother that he would be back by 1 p.m. to look after his children.

It was the last time she saw her son alive.

By Saturday, family members were worried. By Sunday, they were frantic. And when police detectives came to the door Sunday afternoon, they were devastated, told that Garfield's body had been found in Provinces Park, less than 100 yards from a playground and soccer fields.

Garfield, 36, an unemployed construction worker, had lived with his fiancee and their five children in his parents' townhouse, about two miles from the park.

"We don't know why this would happen to him," said Garfield's mother, Eleanor Garfield. "He was nice young man, easygoing, loving."

Police said yesterday that they don't know why Garfield was killed.

Detectives circulated fliers yesterday to people living near the park and to passing motorists, asking for help from anyone who saw suspicious activity in Provinces Park Friday, Saturday or Sunday, or from anyone with information about Garfield's death.

Police divulged little about the killing, saying only that the cause of death was trauma to the upper body and that the state medical examiner's office had ruled the death a homicide.

"It's early in the investigation," said Officer Charles Ravenell, a department spokesman. By withholding information about the circumstances of Garfield's death, detectives will be better able to sort out tips, he said.

"Local residents shouldn't be afraid this park is inhabited with mass murderers, but they should take the necessary safety precautions," he said. "We're still trying to determine if it even occurred here."

Officers used metal detectors to search the area where Garfield's body was found and interviewed residents, relatives and friends yesterday afternoon.

Meanwhile, Garfield's family was beginning to plan his funeral.

Anyone with information about the killing is asked to call Detective H. H. Hasenpusch at 410-222-3460, or the homicide unit's confidential hot line at 410-923-4523. Tips also may be sent by e-mail to aatips@hotsheet.com.

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