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Woman found dead in Catonsville park remained missing for 3 weeks

Deborah Addison said she had called police so many times when her foster daughter failed to return home by curfew that police officers at the Woodlawn Precinct knew her by name.

She had feared that Carlita Coleman would go missing, but, she said, she couldn't deal with her foster child. At Addison's request in September 2014, social services placed the young woman in a group home.

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But Addison's worst fears came true earlier this month.

Baltimore County police contacted her, asking for Coleman's dental records. They believed a decaying body discovered in a neighborhood park was Coleman. It was a park that Addison drove past every day.

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"We did not know my child was over there," said Addison, saying she considered Coleman her daughter. "That's my child out there and she was dumped. No one has the right, but it's the times we live in."

This week, Baltimore County police identified the dead woman as Coleman. Officers had discovered the body in the Westview Recreation Area on Nov. 5. They charged an acquaintance of Coleman's, 23-year-old Terrence Omar Newman Jr., in her death shortly afterward.

Detectives noted in the charging documents that Coleman had not been reported missing.

After moving out of Addison's home, Coleman remained in the group home until her 21st birthday in May. Police said she had not maintained regular contact with Addison.

But in an interview this week, Addison said Coleman would call her and let her know where she was staying, and told her about a new job at a dry-cleaning business.

She described Coleman as a sweet child with a beautiful smile, who loved dancing, makeup and school. She had attended Woodlawn High School but did not graduate, Addison said. When Coleman became a teenager, she grew defiant and would often miss her curfew, leading to Addison's frequent calls to police, she said.

"She wanted to stay out past the curfew hours. I was afraid — there is so much going out on the streets," Addison said.

After numerous instances, Addison said she couldn't have Coleman live with her anymore.

"I told her I can't do it," she said, describing an emotional exchange in which both women broke into tears.

Addison said Coleman went to stay with her father in Baltimore after she turned 21, but that arrangement didn't last long and Coleman continued to move around the Baltimore area, staying with godparents or other family.

Coleman's father couldn't be reached for comment.

After county detectives arrived at her home this month, Addison said, she was distraught.

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"My heart was aching. This is a call no mother wants to hear. This is brutal," she said. "I didn't want to get the phone call that they found her."

Police searched Westview Park after receiving a tip from a friend of Newman's. According to charging documents, Newman told the friend that he had killed Coleman on Oct. 15.

Newman and Coleman had been drinking at the park with a group of people, and went to a wooded area to have sex, according to the friend's report. When Coleman grabbed Newman's throat, his "military instincts" kicked in, according to charging documents. He "upper-cut" her and choked her, then covered her body with sticks and leaves before he left, the documents said.

Newman later returned to the body, making sure it remained covered, he reportedly told the friend. The friend later called police, and officers found Coleman's body.

Newman was arrested at his home Nov. 6. He told detectives he was the last person with Coleman on Oct. 15 after the others had left the park pavilion but denied any physical contact with her. He told detectives he did return to the park to look for something he lost and that he had talked to the friend, but didn't recall confessing to killing Coleman.

There was no answer at a number listed for Newman, and no attorney for him was listed in online court records.

Addison said she takes comfort in knowing that Coleman is safe from further harm.

"God just took her home. We don't have to worry about her," she said. "God took her home where she was safe."

Baltimore Sun reporter Alison Knezevich contributed to this article.

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