Police tell of fervent search after 911 call

Bodies found after suspect was linked to Arundel site

April 26, 2003|By Ryan Davis | Ryan Davis,SUN STAFF

Baltimore County police were intensely focused on finding Jack L. Durrett Jr. during most of the 76 minutes that elapsed between the 911 call from his mother warning that he might be suicidal and the call they made to Anne Arundel County police warning that Durrett's estranged wife could be in danger, a Baltimore County police spokesman said yesterday.

Bill Toohey, a spokesman for the Baltimore County police, said his agency's officers called Anne Arundel authorities immediately after Durrett's family raised concerns about his estranged wife, Diana.

"I'm very comfortable we did everything we should have done," Toohey said.

Anne Arundel police discovered the bodies of Diana Durrett and her parents inside her Pasadena townhouse five minutes after receiving the call early Wednesday morning from Baltimore County police. All three had been shot.

Durrett, who fled to West Virginia and killed himself, is the only suspect in their deaths, police have said.

The killings followed a bitter divorce proceeding and custody fight between Jack Durrett, a Millersville engineering business owner, and his wife, an engineer at the National Security Agency.

Durrett called his mother, Mary, at 9:09 p.m. on Tuesday, Toohey said. He told her he planned to spend the night in Frederick. She thought he sounded odd and checked his room, where she found a lengthy note that did not mention suicide but detailed how he wanted his possessions divided.

She called family members in search of him. Then -- at 11:37 p.m. -- she called 911, Toohey said.

Police responded to her Reisterstown home in about 15 minutes, Toohey said. Three officers responded, partly because she told police he owned a rifle.

When they found he wasn't nearby, they were replaced by a single officer at 12:01 a.m.

That officer attempted to interview the mother but had difficulty, Toohey said. She was upset and the relatives she'd called earlier continued to return her calls, disrupting the interview.

The officer called Westminster police because the mother, based on the note, believed Durrett might have taken his car to a dealership there. He also attempted to put a trace on Durrett's cellular phone, Toohey said.

It wasn't until Durrett's sister called the house -- Toohey said he did not know exactly when that occurred -- and mentioned her brother's estranged wife to the officer that the focus shifted to Anne Arundel County.

At 12:53 a.m., which Toohey said was shortly after the sister's call, the officer notified Anne Arundel police. Police found the bodies at 12:58 a.m.

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