A 7-year-old East Baltimore boy was killed yesterday in the bedroom of his apartment, apparently while his mother was at work, police report.
The boy, Rodney Chaney of the 1500 block of Lester Morton Court, was found by his mother just before 4 p.m., according to police spokesman Dennis S. Hill. The boy was in his bedroom and apparently had been strangled seven to 10 hours earlier.
Mr. Hill said the cause of death will be determined by the medical examiner's office, as will the possibility that the boy was raped.
"This was certainly a brutal, tragic murder," the police spokesman said.
The name of the boy's mother, which is different from her son's, was not released last night. Although questioned by homicide detectives, she was not considered a suspect, Mr. Hill said.
She told police that she left for work about 7 a.m. and that Rodney was supposed to go to school at near by Thomas G. Hayes Elementary School. When she returned shortly before 4 p.m., she found him dead in the bedroom, she told police.
Investigators worked for more than five hours at the scene, gathering evidence in the sparsely furnished apartment to help them in the search for a suspect.
Marks on the boy's throat indicated that the probable cause of death was strangulation.
Police also found a plastic bag containing the residue of suspected drugs, but they did not believe that the boy's murder was drug-related.
The boy's father is imprisoned in another state, he said.
Kenyatta Guarte, who lives in the apartment directly above, said she heard a woman screaming yesterday afternoon. The boy's mother, who had recently moved to the apartment building, came to Mrs. Guarte's door and began banging on it, screaming: "Please call the police. Somebody just raped my son and killed him."
Mrs. Guarte said she dialed 911 and told the woman to wait outside.
"I was afraid because I didn't know if [someone] was after her or what," she said. "It's a threat to mothers with small kids. I can't leave the house because I'm paranoid.
"This is a quiet building and nothing like this has ever happened," she said.