Baltimore homicide detectives and cadets sifted through trash at a landfill on Monday in search of a clothing store bag that they said was dumped by the man accused of killing a 20-year-old woman whose body was found on football field bleachers.
A caravan of about 10 vehicles kicked up clouds of dry, brown powder on Monday morning as they drove up a dirt road at the Eastern Sanitary Landfill Solid Waste Management Facility in Baltimore County.
Dump trucks motored around trash heaps and birds circled above under sweltering heat. About 30 cadets stepped out of big vans and at least one wheezed at the stench.
Amid the garbage, detectives hoped to spot a Downtown Locker Room shopping bag that they said was tossed out by Christopher Rather, 22, who police arrested last week and charged with first- and second-degree murder in the killing of Jasmine Pierce-Morris, whose body was found in the bleachers of a field used by Reginald F. Lewis High School.
Pierce-Morris had told a friend she was looking forward to being done with Rather and that she thought the meeting at the football field would be their “last conversation.”
When police found her, she had suffered trauma to her neck, was in a kneeling position with her hands bound with rope and had a prom picture of Rather. There is no attorney listed for Rather, and a woman who answered the door at his listed address declined to comment Friday.
“There’s some evidence that’s been dumped by the suspect here,” Baltimore Police Detective Sgt. Kristel Vallair said to the group of trainees, holding up a plastic, red and black Downtown Locker Room bag that she said was identical to the one police sought.
She asked the cadets to alert her or another detective if they found a cellphone or “any sharp-edged weapon at all.”
By using GPS technology, authorities had been able to narrow down, within an acre, where a dump truck may have unloaded the bag, Detective David Moynihan said. Dump employees had used vehicles to push all of that garbage into a neat rectangle to be searched.
Moynihan declined to further describe what police thought might be inside the bag, saying only that they were looking for “anything of evidentiary value.”
As the cadets began pulling on gloves and preparing to head over to the rectangular trash heap, a landfill employee asked reporters to leave.
Ellen Kobler, a spokeswoman for Baltimore County, later said that county police had asked landfill employees to keep reporters out of the dump while it was being searched.
Baltimore Sun reporter Pamela Wood contributed to this article.