Aberdeen police have arrested a 17-year-old boy on murder charges in the death of 20-year-old Kayla Hamilton.
On July 28, officers and paramedics from the Aberdeen Fire Department responded to the 100 block of E. Inca Street in the Rancho Estates mobile home community after Hamilton’s boyfriend called 911 to report a cardiac arrest. When they arrived, officers found Hamilton’s body, which had suffered injuries consistent with a homicide, according to police. The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner ruled Hamilton’s death a homicide by strangulation.
“The Hamilton family, the community and the police department were distraught because it was a very senseless act,” said Lt. William Reiber of the Aberdeen Police Department. “Homicides don’t happen often in Aberdeen, so when this happens, people ask why.”
Detectives learned from Hamilton’s family that she was autistic and had recently moved from Norfolk, Virginia, to Aberdeen with her 22-year-old boyfriend. After further investigation, the 17-year-old boy became a person of interest and was later determined to be an undocumented noncitizen from El Salvador. Police declined to say why the boy became a person of interest or whether there was any connection between him and Hamilton because the case remains under investigation.
With the help of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, investigators learned the boy was also listed in El Salvador as a member of Malva Salvatrucha 13 (MS-13), a violent street gang. The suspect’s DNA was compared to evidence recovered at the crime scene by the Maryland State Police Forensic Sciences Division, which led to the issuance of an arrest warrant.
The suspect was arrested in Edgewood Sunday morning. He is charged with first- and second-degree murder, first- and second-degree rape, a third-degree sex offense, robbery, assault and theft, authorities said. He is being held without bail at the Harford County Detention Center.
The police department declined to release any additional information on the suspect because he is a minor. Hamilton’s boyfriend had no connection to the crime and was not charged, Reiber said.