A desperate search comes to horrific end

Killing: A mother discovers that the house she returned to time and again in search of her missing son was the place he was fatally shot.

September 02, 2004|By Ryan Davis | Ryan Davis,SUN STAFF

After Marshall Giles Jr. disappeared Saturday, his mother searched their Northeast Baltimore neighborhood, stopping several times at a nearby house that her son frequented, she said.

Each time, friends of the missing 16-year-old answered the door of the home in the 3200 block of Lyndale Ave., Antoinette Ricks said, and told her that her son wasn't there. They hadn't seen him, they insisted, and they didn't know where he was.

On Tuesday afternoon, a work crew found Giles in a cluttered and overgrown back yard less than a block from his home. His decomposing body rested a few feet from an alley, covered by a piece of painted plywood.

"They threw my son out like he was trash," Ricks said.

Yesterday, she said detectives have revealed a detail she is struggling to digest: Her son was killed inside the house where she had been frantically searching for him -- then taken to the nearby back yard where he was found.

Giles was shot in the head, and one of his friends, who also hangs out in that house, has been linked to the killing, police said. So has another unidentified man, but police had not made any arrests last night.

Ricks said her son was killed because he refused to take part in a burglary, though Detective Richard Purtell said investigators have not determined a motive for the killing.

Giles had completed the General Educational Development program in March at what was then Baltimore Career Academy, a public school program that recruits 16- to 21-year-old students who have dropped out of school or are about to drop out. As a result, Giles received a Maryland high school diploma, school officials said.

Last week, he started his first job, working at a McDonald's, and he was preparing to attend Lincoln Technical Institute in Washington, his mother said.

He wanted to try his hand at electronics, but his passion remained pets. Among others, he owned an iguana, tree frogs and pit bull named Mary Jane.

But shortly before he graduated, Giles, his mother and his three younger half-siblings moved to the 3100 block of Elmora Ave. Giles met new friends who burglarized houses and stole cars, his mother said. And he got in trouble.

He faced a court hearing next week after being caught riding in a stolen car, his mother said. Over and over, those around Giles told him not to hang out with the troubled crowd.

"His friends warned him," said Ricks, 35. "His father warned him. Everybody who knew him warned him."

She said he had received money from burglaries his friends committed, although he didn't participate.

"This is just senseless," said Terry Moore, a cousin of Giles' mother. "To shoot somebody is now the style, just like baggy jeans are the style."

Giles left home Saturday afternoon to help his aunt move into a house two blocks away in the 3300 block of Elmora. He left wearing slippers and no shirt, so his mother figured he would return soon.

He didn't.

She called his best friend in East Baltimore, where he sometimes spent the night. She checked with other friends. And she knocked on the door of the nearby house.

Sunday was supposed to be Giles' second day of work at McDonald's; his father was to drive him to his job. But the boy never came home. His uniform remained inside.

Ricks called police Monday to report her son missing, and she continued looking. She knocked on the door of the Lyndale Avenue house again.

About 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, a Division of Corrections cleanup crew working in an alley behind the 3200 block of Elmora found the boy's body, a few hundred feet from his home and the house where police say he was killed.

Ricks returned yesterday morning to the spot near the alley where her son had likely been hidden for three days.

"Losing my son is always going to be a hard thing," Ricks said, "but not knowing was the worst part.

"They kept telling me he wasn't there; they hadn't seen him."

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