Police suggest 5-year-old girl died of infection

February 14, 2002|By Del Quentin Wilber | Del Quentin Wilber,SUN STAFF

An autopsy of a 5-year-old girl who was found dead in her Curtis Bay home Tuesday showed that she did not die from traumatic injuries, but medical examiners were still trying to determine the cause of death, police officials said yesterday.

The girl might have died from a "viral infection," police Commissioner Edward T. Norris said. Detectives are "looking at the issue of neglect" in the death, he added.

Relatives called for an ambulance before 10 a.m. Tuesday for Bethany Boughner, of the 4100 block of Grace Court, police said. Paramedics pronounced the girl dead and took her to Harbor Hospital, police said.

The girl's mother, Desiree Boughner, 26, could not be reached for comment yesterday. Neighbors have said the house was infested by insects.

Detectives and laboratory technicians donned protective masks and suits before entering the house Tuesday to gather evidence. They also used several cans of insecticide in the house.

"It's not unusual for a death ruling to take weeks," said Agent Martin Bartness, a police spokesman. "When there exist no obvious signs of trauma to the body - such as a gunshot wound or a stab wound - and there isn't a medical history to quickly point investigators in a particular direction, sophisticated laboratory tests are required to tell us what happened."

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