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2 bodies identified in Harford


A state medical examiner has identified the bodies found by Harford sheriff's deputies Monday in an Edgewood home as Linda Sue McDowell, 43, and Daniel Patrick McDowell, 19.

The bodies were identified through dental records, Deputy 1st Class DeWayne Curry, the sheriff's spokesman, said yesterday.

Deputies had gone to the family's home in the 600 block of Sequoia Drive Monday to notify them that Charles Patrick McDowell, 45, had fatally shot himself near Las Vegas, on Friday.

The bodies of Mrs. McDowell and her son were wrapped in plastic in a bedroom closet.

A brief report released yesterday by the sheriff's office and medical examiner's office said both died from "blunt force trauma" to the head. The medical examiner's report said the weapon or object used in the slayings and the time of death have not been determined.

Deputy Curry would not say whether investigators believe Mr. McDowell's suicide is connected to the deaths of his wife and son. Mr. McDowell had quit his job early this month, his former employer said.

"We are treating this a double homicide and have ruled out no possibilities," Deputy Curry said.

Friends and neighbors expressed shock at the deaths.

"It's been tough," said Lance Davison, 16, a neighbor who had been friends with Danny for 11 years. "We used to play G.I. Joes [action toys] together."

Danny McDowell had spina bifida, a congenital defect of the spinal column. He used two canes to walk and had a special bike he could operate with his hands, his friend said.

Lance said he often spent time at the McDowell house. He described Mrs. McDowell as "another mom to me." He said he didn't know Mr. McDowell well: "He was real quiet. I don't think I ever said 10 words to him."

The McDowells' minister, the Rev. Henry Schaefer, said he wasn't aware of any disturbances, "nothing more than normal family problems."

Mr. Schaefer, the pastor of the Lord of Life Lutheran Church in the 500 block of Sequoia Drive, said he has known the family for 20 years. He said Mr. McDowell was not a church member but attended picnics and participated in services Danny was involved in.

He said the McDowells had another son, Scott, who did not live at the family's home.

Robert C. Williams, principal of Edgewood High School, said he had known Danny since the boy was in sixth grade. "He was a nice kid, pleasant," he said of the June graduate.

Mrs. McDowell, who worked part-time at Waldenbooks in Harford Mall, was described by manager Nancy Umstead as "very reliable."

She said Mrs. McDowell was on vacation last week, so her absence from the store didn't cause alarm.

Mrs. Umstead said that Mrs. McDowell was very attractive and creative. "She made beautiful ceramic dolls," she said.

Mr. Schaefer said Mrs. McDowell, whose maiden name was Youngblood, was part Indian. He said she was known for keeping her house "neat as a pin" and "loving cats."

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