Update on homicide and unrelated death

BY BILL BROWN

Takoma Park police have released more information about a death near the Carroll Avenue bridge. A body was found early in the morning August 1 by a jogger below the bridge and 15 feet north of it.  A paved trail and a road – Sligo Creek Parkway – pass below the bridge next to the creek.

A recently released police statement says the deceased was a 20-year old Bowie man.

“All evidence indicates that this matter was a suicide,” says the police statement.

The name of the victim was not released in deference to the family.

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North side of Carroll Avenue bridge. Photo by Bill Brown.

Unrelated to homicide

The death was unrelated to an Aug. 4 death a few blocks away on Colby Avenue.

That death is under investigation as a homicide.

Resident Cecil Brown’s body was discovered following neighbors’ reports of a mid-day disturbance. Police responding to the reports found him in his Colby Avenue back yard. The medical examiner, according to police, said he died from “blunt force trauma.”

Police are not releasing any new information about the case as long as the investigation is ongoing.

Chief assures residents

“I would assure residents that the city remains a safe place to live. I really cannot say more just yet.” said Takoma Park police chief Alan Goldberg. But, he was willing to explain typical homicide investigation procedures.

“Unlike CSI or NCIS, it takes a little more than an hour to investigate, collect evidence and arrest people for most homicides,” said the chief, referring to popular police-procedural television series.

“Rarely is there a smoking gun and confession before the second commercial.”

“Unlike TV,” said the chief, “DNA, electronics forensics, fingerprints, etc. all take time to collect submit and analyze.”

“It is an all hands on deck situation,” Goldberg said. Investigators, the city’s recently hired crime analyst, and Special Assignment Team work together.

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Colby Avenue, scene of the Aug. 4 homicide, is a cul-de-sac one block southwest of Sligo Creek Parkway. Photo by Bill Brown.

The many tasks are divided up between investigators: collecting physical evidence, interviews, coordination with forensic labs, case management and sifting through personal records, a job Chief Goldberg says is particularly “staffing intensive.”

“In short, a homicide investigation involves a lot of traditional police work and modern forensics” said Goldberg.

“The case must be meticulously built until an arrest is possible. It does not end with an arrest either,” he said.

Investigators continue gathering evidence to strengthen the case before it goes to trial. The chief said “Throughout the investigation, the State’s Attorney and family members are kept informed.”

“We are working exhaustively on this case and will continue to do so.” said chief Goldberg.

Homicides rare

The homicide is the only Takoma Park homicide this year, so far. There was one homicide in 2013 and another in 2011. Those are the only homicide deaths since 2008.

The 2013 homicide was a tragic murder/suicide on Flower Avenue. In that February, 2013 incident, Steven “Kyle” Hickman was shot from behind by Takoma Park resident David Draa, a former Marine with Iraq combat experience who suffered from post-traumatic stress. Hickman was fixing a flat bicyle tire Draa’s driveway. Draa knelt over Hickman’s body and took his own life.

That murder/suicide and the most recent, unrelated murder and suicide all took place in Ward 2, coincidentally within a quarter-of-a-mile distance of each other.

About the Author

Bill Brown
Bill Brown moved to Takoma Park in 1982. He has been involved in journalism in one way or another since he co-published an underground high-school newspaper in the late 1960s.