Death of man found in Columbia is ruled a homicide, police say

May 23, 2002|By Julie Bykowicz | Julie Bykowicz,SUN STAFF

The death of a Columbia resident, whose body was discovered Monday, has been ruled a homicide by the state medical examiner, making it the second killing in Howard County this year, county police said yesterday.

Jose Antonio Ayala appears to have died as a result of blunt-force trauma, police said. Police spokeswoman Sherry Llewellyn said no other markings or wounds were on Ayala's body.

A lawn maintenance worker found Ayala's body Monday morning in a wooded area behind the Sierra Woods apartment complex in Long Reach village, police said.

Police estimated that the body could have been placed there as early as May 15, Llewellyn said. Officers found nothing else unusual, including drugs or weapons, in the area, Llewellyn said.

The 33-year-old man was an Oakland Mills village resident, police said. He had no identification on him and was identified through fingerprints, police said.

Ayala lived in the 5700 block of Stevens Forest Ave., police said, which is the Tor apartment complex.

No one called to report Ayala missing, Llewellyn said, and police had difficulty locating his next of kin.

Police are offering a $4,000 reward for information about the death and have established a tip line in English and Spanish. Anyone with information is asked to call 410-313-2283.

The investigation is in the early stages, Llewellyn said, and police have not developed solid suspects and are unaware of a motive.

Police arrested a suspect a few days after the shooting in January of this year's other Howard County homicide victim, DeShawn Anthony Wallace. Two additional suspects were charged late Tuesday.

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