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Ex-girlfriend asks fugitive to give up

Trials and ArbitrationKidnappingDeathHomicideJustice System

Joseph C. Palczynski's estranged girlfriend -- the woman he is accused ofabducting a week ago -- has pleaded with him to surrender.

"You told me you never loved anyone like you love me. If you really love meshow me by turning yourself in," Tracy Whitehead wrote. "Please do this forme."

The letter -- addressed to "Joby," Palczynski's nickname -- was signed witha drawing of a heart, and signed "Tracy (Squirrel)."

Authorities early today continued to search for Palczynski, who is wantedin four killings.

Whitehead's letter was read aloud yesterday afternoon by David Henninger, aTowson attorney and longtime friend of Palczynski. Standing before televisioncameras at the police command post in Middle River, Henninger appealed toPalczynski to come out of hiding, the seventh fruitless day of the search.

"A lot of people care about you," Henninger said. "I've talked to thepolice. They want to end this peacefully. We need the killings to cease."

The lawyer said he would help the fugitive, adding, "Give me a calltonight."

Police said they wanted Whitehead to write the letter so Palczynski couldsee it was in her words.

"We did this because we're trying to reach out every way we can to Mr.Palczynski," said Bill Toohey, county police spokesman. "We're telling him hecan bring this to a peaceful end with no more hurt to him or anyone else, thatthe police don't want to hurt him, we just want to bring this to an end."

Also yesterday, the FBI in Richmond, Va., issued a federal arrest warrantfor Palczynski, charging him with kidnapping, carjacking and felony possessionof a weapon.

Officials believe Palczynski broke into a Virginia home over the weekend,stole weapons and a truck and drove about 25 miles before the truck ran out ofgas. Police believe he walked to the home of William L. Terrell, 54, inWoodford, Va., and forced Terrell to drive him to eastern Baltimore County.

Police say Whitehead was abducted March 7 from the Bowleys Quartersapartment of George Shenk, 49, and his wife, Gloria Jean, 50. Whitehead movedin with the Shenks two days after she filed assault charges againstPalczynski. Police believe the abductor killed both Shenks.

Also killed was David Meyers, 42, a neighbor of the Shenks, who tried tohelp Whitehead.

Palczynski also is wanted in the fatal shooting of a woman during anattempted carjacking the next night.

Officials continued yesterday to examine items they have recovered inGunpowder Falls State Park and Dundee Saltpeter Park. Sources said police havenot been able to connect the items -- which include clothing, a backpack,tents, food wrappers and bedding -- to Palczynski.

"They were checking the fingerprints on the tuna cans they found [Monday]and they didn't come up with anything," said Toohey. "Lots of people have beenthrough those woods. Lots of people camp there."

Nearly 100 officers and 20 dogs searched in Essex and Middle Riveryesterday. Searchers have concentrated on areas near railroad tracks.

Baltimore County police and Maryland forest rangers spent more than threehours yesterday morning searching a wooded area off Carroll Island Road inBowleys Quarters, near a railroad spur that leads to a Baltimore Gas &Electric power plant.

In the afternoon, police with search dogs were seen walking beside EasternBoulevard near Bowleys Quarters Road, at Chase Elementary School and in nearbywoods.

Terrell said Sunday that on the trip to Baltimore County, Palczynski madehim stop at several stores to purchase camping items and a battery-operatedtelevision. Terrell said that Palczynski handed him cash and told him what tobuy.

"We got everything but the Snickers bar," Terrell said.

Terrell said Palczynski told him that if he did not return, Palczynskiwould kill the first person he saw.

Police believe Palczynski -- who grew up in Bowleys Quarters -- is alifelong outdoorsman, who knows the woods in the area well.

"The bloodhounds are picking up scents, but no leads," said Capt. JosephBurris, commander of the Essex precinct, where the search is centered.

Friends and neighbors of Palczynski said he and Whitehead had a stormy,two-year relationship.

"They were both very obsessive [about] one another," said a woman who saidshe knew them, but who did not wish to be identified. "He said she thought hewas cheating. She said he would not let her have any friends."

In her letter, Whitehead talked of better times with Palczynski.

"We shared alot of special moments that I would never forget and we hadalot of fun together. You helped me alot with my problems," she wrote. "Theother night in the woods you told me how much you loved me and wanted to marryme. You told me you never loved anyone like you love me."

The letter ends: "I know you have alot of good in you, so let's bring thisto an end. I know you can do it!!"

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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