One year later, no arrests in death of teen girl in Havre de Grace

thendricks@theaegis.com

A year ago this week, the body of Maleigha Solonka, a 15-year-old Edgewood girl, was found in a wooded area at the end of Webb Lane in Havre de Grace.

Since she was reported missing Aug. 10, 2017 and her body was found the next week on Aug. 16, Havre de Grace Police say they have been actively investigating the death and have identified who they believe is a suspect. But no arrests have been made.

“We’re still working the case,” Teresa Walter, chief of the Havre de Grace Police, said Wednesday.

The teen’s death is being investigated as a homicide, police have said, after asphyxiation was determined by the medical examiner to be the cause of her death.

The chief said her agency doesn’t have any more information to release about the homicide other than Havre de Grace Police are still working on the case.

“We do have a suspect,” Walter said. “It’s still an active investigation.”

Havre de Grace Police have released little information since Maleigha’s body was found Aug. 16, 2017, citing the ongoing investigation.

Cpl. Daniel Petz, a spokesman for the Havre de Grace Police Department, wrote in an email a year ago that nothing more about the case can be released “due to the integrity of the investigation.” A year later, Havre de Grace Police are taking the same approach.

Maleigh’s 15th birthday was Aug. 10, 2017, the day after her family reported to the Harford County Sheriff’s Office that she was missing; she was last seen Aug. 9.

Attempts this week to contact Maleigha’s grandmother, or the uncle with whom she lived, were unsuccessful.

Police have not said how they believe Maleigh came to be in Havre de Grace, nor have they said how the girl, who wasn’t old enough to drive, may have gotten to the city.

Police also haven’t said whether they believe she was killed nearby and her body was left at the end of Webb Lane, or whether they think she may have been killed elsewhere and taken to the place where she found.

According to reports at the time, Havre de Grace Police were called to the 400 block of Webb Lane to investigate a body found in a wooded area. The site was cordoned off and detectives, assisted by an investigator from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for the State of Maryland, began their investigation. Maleigha was pronounced dead at the scene.

Maleigha was remembered by her family as a person “full of life, and she had a smile that would radiate,” Vance DuPree, the uncle with whom she lived, said last August. “People loved her because of her personality.”

She also was known as a softball player who spent her last summer as a member of the Churchville Glory, a fastpitch travel team. Her uncle said last August that they were about to enroll her in Joppatowne High School, where she would have been a freshman during the 2017-18 school year.

Cristie Kahler, a spokesperson for the Harford County Sheriff’s Office, said last August that a relative reported Maleigha missing at 4:12 p.m. on Aug. 10, 2017. Dupree said a year ago that he had last seen his niece Aug. 9. The Harford County Sheriff’s Office was originally involved with investigating Maleigha’s disappearance when it was a missing person case, but Havre de Grace Police took over the investigation when her body was found.

Rev. Luke Erickson, the executive pastor for Mountain Christian Church in Joppa, who officiated her funeral, put her death in perspective.

“There shouldn’t be funerals for 15-year-olds,” he told those gathered for her funeral. “This is a hard day, there’s no getting around that. We did not expect to be here, and nor should we.”

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