Harford County sheriff's deputies went to an Edgewood house yesterday to notify a family that a member had committed suicide, and they found two dead bodies wrapped in plastic in a bedroom closet.
The gruesome discovery was made about 3 p.m. in the 600 block of Sequoia Drive, where Charles Patrick McDowell had lived for at least 15 years with his wife and son.
Mr. McDowell, 45, committed suicide Friday in Las Vegas and a coroner there had asked Harford County authorities to go to his house to inform relatives, the sheriff's department said.
But several attempts to reach relatives were unsuccessful, prompting deputies to force their way into the house.
Identifications of the bodies hadn't been made, and deputies said they were sent to the state medical examiner's office for an autopsy today.
Sheriff's department officials said it is unclear who the dead people were or how they died.
"We're in the very early stages of looking into this," said Deputy DeWayne Curry of the sheriff's department. "It's really caught us by surprise. We were just going to do a routine notification and then this came up."
Deputy Curry wouldn't speculate as to whether the people in the house may have been Mr. McDowell's wife and son.
But he added that they have not been heard from recently.
Neighbors were surprised at the commotion in the neighborhood yesterday and recalled Mr. McDowell as an easygoing neighbor.
"He was just a very quiet man," said Hubert Lose, a neighbor across the street from the McDowells for about 15 years.
Mr. Lose said members of the family kept to themselves -- Mr. and Mrs. McDowell and their son, Danny, a June graduate of Edgewood High School who had a spinal disorder and used a cane.
The neighbor said he was working around his house yesterday morning when he noticed police officers across the street. He said Mr. McDowell had reported his car stolen a few weeks ago and thought the police had stopped by to talk with him about it. But at midafternoon, Mr. Lose said, he noticed six or seven police cars there and found out about the deaths.