The boyfriend of a woman who was found fatally shot along with her 4-year-old daughter in a Parkville apartment has been arrested in the killings.
Brian Lamont Eggleston Jr., 28, was charged Wednesday with two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Alicia Avery, 25, and her daughter, Darry'el, whose bodies were found Monday afternoon.
Baltimore County Police Chief James W. Johnson said detectives suspected by early Tuesday that the slayings were the result of a domestic dispute. But county police made statements that same day giving the impression that the killings were connected to Avery's role as a witness in a city murder case.
City authorities fumed that county police divulged that Avery and her daughter had been placed in the apartment as part of a witness protection program and that city police had failed to inform their county colleagues. City police complained that the statements implied they had failed to protect a witness.
Baltimore Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III expressed frustration, saying Wednesday that he was "dismayed that [the issue has] taken on a tenor and tone that infers or impeaches the safety of people we're working hard to protect across the city."
"The reality is, the facts of this case will be borne out," the commissioner said, speaking to reporters at a ceremony for a retiring officer. "Who did this and why will be borne out, and they have no relation to the case in Baltimore City. We don't want this case to serve as another point for people to get worked up about witness protection or their personal safety in cooperating with police."
Johnson said the county's investigation concluded that the homicides "had nothing to do with [the victim's] role in the city trial or charges that have been placed." He said that he decided to confirm Avery's role as a city witness after inquiries from reporters who were told by the victims' family that Avery was in a witness protection program.
County police spokeswoman Cathy Batton said Tuesday that the victims had been relocated by city police to the apartment in the 8700 block of Loch Bend Drive. She said county police were unaware that Avery and her daughter were at the apartment.
The pair had not been seen for several days, investigators said. City police officers found the bodies, police said, after they were unable to contact Avery.
Eggleston was arrested Monday on a drug distribution charge and is being held at the Baltimore City Detention Center, police said. Autopsies revealed that Avery and Darry'el had been shot.
Avery was three months' pregnant with twins, said Lisa Branch, Avery's aunt.
Police confirmed the pregnancy and said they are waiting for an opinion from the medical examiner before deciding whether additional homicide charges will be brought. Police did not specify whether Avery was pregnant with twins.
"They were like my own kids," Branch said of the victims. Branch raised Avery, and when the young woman hit a rough spot, Branch said, she helped care for Darry'el.
Branch said the last time she saw them was two months ago. Contact with Avery had to be kept to a minimum, she said, because she entered witness protection.
Police declined to comment on which murder case Avery was a witness to.
Baltimore Sun reporter Justin Fenton contributed to this article.