Less than a week before Harford County does its annual count of the homeless, a homeless man and woman found unconscious in a tent in Aberdeen Friday morning have died. A third person was hospitalized.
The two who died have been identified as Tameka R. Hooker, 28, and George W. Woodrow, 32. They were found unresponsive in a tent in a patch of land bordered by westbound Route 22, the Amtrak rail lines and North Deen Park. In a news release Tuesday morning, the Aberdeen Police Department said "the cause of death is still under investigation; however, there was no foul play." According to numerous sources, the two died either from exposure or from carbon monoxide poisoning.
A third person, Herbert Vinson, who reported feeling ill at the scene and was transported to Harford Memorial Hospital in Havre de Grace, has been treated and released, according to Aberdeen police. Hooker and Woodrow were pronounced dead Friday morning after being found unconscious in an Aberdeen homeless encampment, the city's police department said. The homeless camp had not been there long, according to sources, after it was moved from a more high profile location on Rogers Street near the ramp to Route 22.
The county will do its annual count of homeless people in Harford County Wednesday.
"Local homeless service providers, community volunteers, local police agencies and the Harford County Government" will conduct the count, a county press release said.
The count will, hopefully, provide understanding of the issues that contribute to individual people becoming homeless, the release continued.
It will also give local human services providers information about how to create programs that would ideally eradicate homelessness in the county.
According to the release, Harford has 12 emergency, transitional and permanent supportive shelters, which have 258 beds.
In fiscal year 2011, there were 1,073 homeless people provided with 41,048 nights in a shelter — an average of 38 nights per person.
In the fatal episode in Aberdeen, police reported that patrol officers assisted emergency medical crews at an area off Route 22 and Post Road at 8:30 a.m. Friday
At the scene, crews "found a male and female in a tent in a wooded area near the intersection," according to a police department news release on Friday. Both were unconscious and unresponsive. Another male in that area was also feeling ill.
At that time, the people had not been identified.
The three were taken to Harford Memorial Hospital, where Hooker and Woodrow were pronounced dead.
"Preliminary investigation revealed the three [had] been in the wooded area over night sleeping in a tent," Friday's news release continued.
Vinson had found the two unresponsive when he awoke in the morning and notified authorities.
A caller to The Aegis Friday afternoon said the area where the victims were found, which is near the city's North Deen Park, has been used as a camp by homeless people, including the three victims. The caller, who declined to give his name, said he knew all three either by their first names or nicknames.
Aberdeen police broke up a homeless encampment on a private property along Rogers Street in the downtown area a couple of weeks earlier, according to several sources.
Vigil set for Thursday
Giving Hope Ministries in Aberdeen, which feeds homeless people in the community on a weekly basis, announced that it will hold a candlelight vigil in memory of Hooker and Woodrow 5 p.m. Thursday at 11 Franklin St. in Aberdeen.
Barbara Hawkins, director evangelist with Giving Hope, said the two would "come into eat all the time" with the ministry.