An Edgewood man left a suicide note before he fatally shot himself in the head in a remote Nevada state park Friday, a Nevada Park Service ranger said yesterday.
Rangers at Valley of Fire State Park found the handwritten note in a pickup truck beside the body of Charles Patrick McDowell, 45, of the 600 block of Sequoia Court in Edgewood, said Gary Rimbey, the park supervisor.
Authorities declined to disclose the contents of the note.
Mr. McDowell had been dead about two hours before his body was found, Mr. Rimbey said.
Ron Flood, a Clark County coroner, said Mr. McDowell shot himself at the park about 40 miles north of Las Vegas. A pistol was found in the truck, but neither Mr. Flood nor Mr. Rimbey would say what caliber it was.
The victim was identified by papers in his possession, Mr. Flood said.
"We are still trying to obtain fingerprints to make the identification official, but we have every reason to believe it is Mr. McDowell," the coroner said.
The truck bore Maryland tags, and Mr. McDowell owned a pickup, his former employer said. But neither the coroner nor the park supervisor would say whether the victim was found in his own vehicle.
Mr. Flood said he contacted the Harford County sheriff's office in an attempt to notify Mr. McDowell's relatives. That led Harford deputies to the discovery of two more bodies Monday at the modest ranch-style house on Sequoia Drive in Edgewood.
Deputy 1st Class DeWayne Curry, a spokesman for the sheriff's office, declined to speculate yesterday, pending autopsies, whether the bodies might be those of Mr. McDowell's wife and youngest son.
"All we can say at this point is that the bodies were one male and one female," he said. "The medical examiner is not ready to make a positive identification yet."
Calls yesterday to Dr. Theodore King, the assistant state medical examiner who was scheduled to perform the autopsies on the bodies found in Edgewood, were not returned yesterday.
Mr. McDowell lived with his wife, Linda, and son Danny, 18, at the Edgewood address, neighbors and friends said yesterday. The couple also had an older son, Scott, who did not live at the home.
Mr. McDowell, a former manager at Ryder Managed Logistics Systems in Bel Air, quit his job early in July, Ed Isaacoff, his former supervisor, said yesterday.
"Everyone here was shocked to learn about his death," Mr. Isaacoff said. "It's all just extremely unbelievable."
Mr. Isaacoff said Mr. McDowell began working for the company as a diesel mechanic about five years ago. He had been promoted twice, most recently to the manager's position in which he handled contract work for the Harford County government, Mr. Isaacoff said.
The supervisor described Mr. McDowell as "extremely dependable."