"Jerome" may hold the key to unlocking the 2-year-old mystery of Lisa Haenel's homicide, Anne Arundel County police believe.
Homicide investigators yesterday released a composite sketch of a man they described as a "possible witness," but declined to discuss what the man might know or how officers decided he might be able to help them.
The sketch shows Jerome as he would have appeared on Jan. 16, 1993, the day the 14-year-old's body was found at the bottom of a ravine near Old Mill High School.
The drawing is of a man in his 20s, with a short goatee and dark hair that twirls up. He is either black or Hispanic, light-skinned, with a pitted complexion that may be the result of acne, police said.
"We encourage the public to give us a lot of calls," said Lt. Harry Collier, the commander of the department's Crimes Against Persons Unit.
Lieutenant Collier said that information about Jerome was learned, in part, by members of a task force formed last September that was devoted exclusively to developing leads in the case.
The task force of eight of the department's best investigators was disbanded in January, but Detective David Harp continued to follow leads that led to the search for Jerome, Lieutenant Collier said.
"We've been working ever since [January] sorting out new information," the lieutenant said. "We want to talk to Jerome. We don't want him to leave the state."
Margaret Enck, 39, the mother of the slain girl, said homicide detectives told her Wednesday night about Jerome and brought the composite sketch to her Millersville home.
"They [police] are hopeful that this guy may have some information," Ms. Enck said. "We are hopeful that somebody may be able to recognize him and give us more information than the name Jerome."
It was Ms. Enck's husband, Phillip Enck, 38, who found his stepdaughter's body while he was jogging. The girl was nude and had been stabbed several times. Her clothes lay near her body, but police said there was no evidence that she had been sexually assaulted or that she struggled with her attacker.
Police say they believe that Lisa, an Old Mill freshman, was killed between 6:45 a.m. and 7 a.m. on Jan. 15 as she walked to the school complex by a path used as a shortcut by students. She was last seen wearing blue jeans, a gray sweat shirt, white leather sneakers, a blue "Old Mill" band jacket, white socks and a purple shirt.
Police described Lisa as "an All-American girl," with nothing to indicate that anything in her past or her family could have led to her murder.
Anyone with information about Jerome is urged to call county homicide detectives at 222-3460.