Bean said that all of Hammond's relationships have been tumultuous. Hammond charged in January 2003 that her husband hit her in the face, pushed her to the floor and twisted her hand to the point that she required medical treatment. The next year, Hammond's boyfriend of 18 months, Charles Orlando Burris of Catonsville, filed charges against her, accusing her of stealing his medication and wallet, and hitting him "over and over with her pocketbook."
In court records, Burris wrote: "She is on heroin and it's killing her. She is in desperate need of help."
Court records, including notes from Hammond to Circuit Judge Raymond J. Kane Jr. and an area drug-treatment center, show that heroin has controlled her life for several years. Bean said his friend's habit drove her to live in motels, in her car and, at one point, in a cardboard box. Twice last year, Howard County police say, they caught her with drugs in the area near the TA Truck stop in Jessup.
"I surely was not prepared for the situations I faced as a registered sex offender," Hammond wrote to Kane in March, requesting that he place her on work release long enough for her to get her finances in order or to get to a drug treatment facility in Maryland or Utah, where she would be close to "family and a strong support group."
"I am mostly concerned with preparing for the road ahead of me," she wrote.
Bean said that if his friend could have stayed clean, she would have made it. But now, he has little hope.
"The pattern with Karen has always been that she calls out of the blue and asks to come over," said Bean, who said that he has not spoken with Hammond since spring. "She might stay over for a few days, and then, boom, you wouldn't hear from her again.
"This is sad to say, but I thought maybe you were calling because you were doing an obituary on her."
Police ask that anyone with information on Karen Hammond's whereabouts call 410-313-2929. To search Maryland's online sex offender registry, go to www.dpscs.state.md.us/onlineservs/sor/