Baltimore Sun

Body found during Barnes search identified

When Baltimore police launched an extensive search of Patapsco Valley State Park back in April, looking for Phylicia Barnes, they didn't find her but a member of the civil air patrol did stumble on another body.

Today, Maryland State Police announced that they've identified the body John H. Hagegeorge, a 55-year-old man who had lived in Catonsville. Police said they tracked him down using serial numbers on his artificial knee replacements. An autopsy confirmed that he died of natural causes, wearing several layers of clothing in a makeshift homeless park in the camp. Picture of the search in the park by The Sun's Kim Hairston. Here is complete coverage of the Phylica Barnes case.

Barnes' body was found later in April in the Susquehanna River; she had been missing since December and the subject of one of the police department's most extensive manhunts in memory. Her death has been ruled a homicide, but no arrests have been made:


Here is a statement from State Police on the body being identified:

A man whose body was found in a state park in April during the search for a missing teenager has now been identified not through fingerprints, but through knee replacements.


The man has been identified as John H. Hagegeorge, 55, whose last known address was on Redcliffe Road in Catonsville, Md. An autopsy conducted by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner determined his death was from exposure and natural causes.  There was no indication foul play was involved.

The body of a man, now identified as Hagegeorge, was found at about 12:30 p.m. on April 9, 2011, in the Baltimore County section of Patapsco Valley State Park.  The body was located during a large-scale search of the park coordinated by the Baltimore Police Department for the body of Phylicia Barnes, a teenager who had gone missing in late December 2010, while visiting relatives in Baltimore.

The man's body was dressed in several layers of clothing and was found at what appeared to be a makeshift campsite. No identification was found in the man's clothing or around the campsite. 
Maryland State Police criminal investigators from the Golden Ring Barrack assumed the investigation and began attempts to identify the man. Fingerprint checks and other forensic tests did not provide a match.  He was not matched with any missing person reports. Investigators were quickly exhausting their normal methods of making an identification.

During the autopsy, the medical examiner told investigators the man had had knee replacement surgery.  TFC Chris Taylor, a criminal investigator at the Golden Ring Barrack, did extensive research and was able to use the serial numbers on the knee replacements to track down the hospital that had used them.  Ultimately, he was able to identify the patient the replacements had been used on.  That patient name was matched to a photo and investigators were able to locate the man's wife, from whom he had been estranged since 2006.

Hagegeorge's wife said after the two had both moved from their former home in Catonsville, she had little contact with him.  She did not file a missing persons report because she did not know he was missing.