Body found in school chimney is identified

Robbery victim, 19, disappeared late last month

August 04, 2006|By NICK SHIELDS | NICK SHIELDS,SUN REPORTER

A body found wedged inside a chimney at a school in Lansdowne has been identified as that of a 19-year-old man who had been reported missing last week, police said yesterday.

Zachary Scott Miller's body was identified through fingerprints, a Baltimore County police spokesman said. The body was found Wednesday afternoon at Riverview Elementary School, a few blocks from Miller's home.

Disappeared July 26

Miller was last seen alive July 26 after being warned not to tell police about being robbed, authorities have said. Police said yesterday that they were unsure how Miller got into the chimney and that homicide detectives are investigating the case as a suspicious death.

"There was no sign of injury or trauma," said Bill Toohey, a county police spokesman.

One suspect was arrested as a juvenile shortly after the robbery, and three men and a woman were charged in the robbery this week, Toohey said.

According to court and police records:

Miller was "hanging out" with acquaintances near his home in the 900 block of Winsap Court about 10:30 p.m. July 20 when he went to a bank machine to get money for fast food. After returning, he was assaulted, thrown against the side of a vehicle and robbed of $30 and a pocketknife.

Miller later told police that the robbers left in a sport utility vehicle, and that he called one of them through a "direct connect" number to ask for his property back.

At one point, a man with a voice that Miller did not recognize answered the call and said the assailants would do more harm if he "didn't let it go."

Another person told Miller that the others were capable of shooting him if he "rats them out."

Arrests made

Later, police arrested a 17-year-old and charged him as a juvenile in the robbery.

Arrested this week and charged with robbery, assault and theft were Antoine Manning, 21, of the 400 block of S. Stricker St. in Baltimore; Scott Snyder, 21, of the 100 block of S. Carrollton Ave. in Baltimore; and Dennis Eric Morris, 21, and Staci Michelle Emge, 26, both of the first block of Silerton Road in Lansdowne.

Miller was captured on video about 1:30 a.m. July 26 at the Royal Farms store in the 4300 block of Hollins Ferry Road, Baltimore County police said. His family reported him missing the next day.

A maintenance crew at Riverview Elementary School called police Wednesday after opening a door at the bottom of the chimney and seeing a body inside, police said.

Miller's relatives were among the dozens of people who gathered at the school that night.

The body was removed about 9 p.m. and taken to the state medical examiner's office.

Early yesterday afternoon, nobody answered the door at Miller's home. A few hours later, police said that the medical examiner's office had identified the body.

Additional tests will be conducted to determine the cause and manner of Miller's death, police said.

nicholas.shields@baltsun.com

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