2 men held without bail in 1996 missing-person case

Police believe remains of Arundel teen found

January 09, 2003|By Julie Bykowicz | Julie Bykowicz,SUN STAFF

Early yesterday, Anne Arundel County authorities announced they had solved a 6-year-old missing person case and were prepared to go forward with a murder trial even though the body had not been found.

By yesterday afternoon, detectives had recovered what they believe to be the skeletal remains of the missing Gambrills teen-ager, Joseph Aaron Demarest. The two men arrested in the case were ordered held without bail after having been indicted on first-degree murder and other charges.

"We felt very good about the strength of the case without the body, and obviously this discovery makes it even stronger," said Lt. Joseph E. Jordan, a spokesman for the Anne Arundel County Police Department.

Demarest's father last saw his 17-year-old son at the family's Red Fall Lane home Sept. 3, 1996. Interviews with suspects and witnesses in the Demarest case led detectives to a shallow grave about 12 miles away, in a wooded area near the rural community of Wilson Town, police said.

A state medical examiner will use dental records to confirm the body's identity and will try to determine the cause of death, police said.

The Demarest case had been dormant until cold-case detectives began treating it as a homicide in early 2001, police said.

Christopher Allen Bolen, 23, of Gambrills and Stefan Tyson Bell, 25, of Waldorf were arrested without incident Tuesday.

Four days earlier, a county grand jury had returned an indictment - sealed until yesterday - charging the two with first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, armed robbery and conspiracy to commit armed robbery. Each could face the death penalty if convicted.

Bolen and Bell appeared calm at their bail review hearing yesterday in District Court.

Bell asked Judge Robert C. Wilcox to "reconsider at least giving me bail" because, he said, he is the sole breadwinner for his wife and infant son. The public defender's office, which is representing both men, asked that Bolen be allowed to attend the funeral Thursday of the grandmother who raised him.

The prosecutor opposed the requests and Wilcox ordered them held without bail.

Before the remains were discovered, the state was set to prosecute the county's first "no-body" homicide case.

In the four days between the indictment and the arrests, police were "still working the case and obtaining further evidence," Officer Charles Ravenell said.

Sun staff writer Lynn Anderson contributed to this article.

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