The Harford County Sheriff’s Office investigators did not know, when they talked with 25-year-old Brandon Allen Wovas Thursday night, that he had allegedly killed a 34-year-old Street woman.
The Sheriff’s Office was investigating the passing of Lauren Michelle Walls, whose body had been found covered with a blanket in Susquehanna State Park that morning, as a “suspicious death.” Investigators did not know the cause or manner of death at the time, Maj. William Davis said during a news conference at the Sheriff’s Office headquarters in Bel Air Friday afternoon.
They only knew that Wovas, a resident of Aberdeen, was the last person who had seen or talked with the victim.
“We were trying to get in contact with him to try to find out what happened to her,” Davis said.
During the interview with investigators, Wovas “advised us that he had, in fact, killed her,” Davis said.
Police took Wovas into custody around 9 p.m. Thursday. He was being held in the Harford County Detention Center on no bail as of Friday afternoon, Davis said.
“Just pretty much that he could, was why he said he did it,” Davis said in response to a reporter’s question about a motive.
Wovas has been charged with first and second-degree murder, first and second-degree assault and altering physical evidence in a criminal proceeding, according to online court records.
The cause of Walls’ death was asphyxiation, and the manner was homicide, as reported by the state’s Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, Davis said.
Deputies responded to the park, which is north of Havre de Grace, around 7:45 a.m. Thursday and found the victim’s body, according to a news release posted on the Sheriff’s Office Facebook page.
Initially, the Sheriff’s Office posted on social media Thursday afternoon that the death was “suspicious,” but there were “no obvious signs of trauma.”
Walls’ body was covered by a blanket. Deputies initially thought she was unconscious, but they “quickly realized that the person under the blanket had been deceased,” Davis said.
Investigators believe, according to the news release, that Wovas allegedly killed Walls some time between Wednesday evening and Thursday morning while they were in the 700 block of Stafford Road, which is near the Rock Run mill.
Police said Wovas then left the park. Walls’ body was found in a parking lot, according to the release.
Davis said the Sheriff’s Office has had contact with Wovas in the past, citing a burglary case from 2015 for which Wovas was sentenced to 10 years in prison but released after 18 months.
Wovas had been charged with first-degree burglary, theft $1,000 to less than $10,000 and theft less than $1,000 value, stemming from a July 2014 incident, according to online court records.
Wovas pleaded guilty to the burglary charge in February 2015, and the other two charges were dropped. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison, with eight-and-a-half years suspended, plus two years of supervised probation after his release, according to records.
“Had he still been in jail for that 10 years, that he got for his first-degree burglary, this person would probably still be alive,” Davis said of Walls.