Jailed suspect linked to 4 bodies

CRIME WATCH

September 19, 2006|By JUSTIN FENTON

Four bodies found in recent months in remote areas of eastern Harford County are apparently linked, law enforcement officials said yesterday, adding that they have identified a suspected killer who is already behind bars.

At a news conference called three days after the discovery of two of the bodies, Harford County State's Attorney Joseph I. Cassilly would not disclose the identity of the suspect, but said that evidence in one of the killings could be presented to a grand jury in the next month.

"The individual is in custody, based on the evidence we have," Cassilly said.

The body of a 42-year-old Aberdeen woman who had been reported missing was discovered June 2 in a remote field in Perryman. Two weeks later, the body of an Elkton woman who had last been seen in May was found in Havre de Grace.

A 35-year-old Kingsville man was later arrested after a mother and daughter - both prostitutes - told police that the man had taken them to the same area and attacked them in separate incidents. The women said Charles Eugene Burns, with a last known address in the 12100 block of Belair Road, choked them and left them for dead, according to court documents.

Four other prostitutes also came forward to allege similar attacks by Burns, according to court records. He faces multiple assault and sex offense charges, and one attempted-murder charge, in those crimes.

Burns' public defender, Lloyd G. Merriam, said it would not be appropriate to discuss his client's case but that the "reliable information isn't necessarily coming out."

Investigators combed a field in Perryman on Friday and found the remains of three bodies after receiving a tip from a passer-by. One of the sets of remains was later determined to be animal remains, officials said.

The bodies found last week were sent to the state medical examiner's office to determine their identities and causes of death. Authorities said they were still searching for five other missing women, including Jennifer Lynn Blankenship, 25, of the 100 block of Spesutia Road, who disappeared in early June.

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