A body found in a wooded area in Scaggsville Thursday was identified yesterday as that of Terry Lee Keefer, a 37-year-old Anne Arundel County woman reported missing six weeks ago, Howard County police said.
Her death has been classified as suspicious, but it could take two weeks before medical examiners determine the cause of death, information that would help investigators from Howard and Anne Arundel counties.
"We can't arrest anyone until we find out how she died," said Cpl. Kevin Costello, a Howard police spokesman.
Ms. Keefer was last seen July 29, when, police say, she and her husband, David A. Dicus, quarreled before she left their Millersville home between midnight and 2 a.m. He has said that his wife -- who suffered from mild depression and was taking medication for it -- told him she needed to take a drive to clear her head.
But Ms. Keefer never returned to her home or contacted her family. Her 1984 Toyota Tercel station wagon was found abandoned with a flat tire at 3 a.m. on Interstate 97 the night she left, less than 2 miles from her home.
Mr. Dicus reported his wife missing to police the next day.
He could not be reached for comment last night.
A man who answered a phone at the couple's home declined to identify himself but said, "He's pretty upset and really can't talk."
Ms. Keefer's younger brother, Jerry, said her family has gone through a "nightmare."
"We kept hoping in the back of our minds," said the 30-year-old Riviera Beach resident. "It was a nightmare to go through this -- having someone you love missing . . . It's a relief we can lay her to rest."
A State Highway Administration surveyor found Ms. Keefer's body in a wooded area off Route 216 just west of Interstate 95 in Scaggsville, about 12 miles from where her car was found.
The state medical examiner's office used dental records to identify the body.
Police also said yesterday that the body was clad in shorts and a white top, clothes Ms. Keefer was wearing when she was last seen.
Yesterday, detectives again combed the spot where her body was found, but police had not questioned anyone about the case by late yesterday afternoon, said Anne Arundel police Detective Tom O'Connor.
Ms. Keefer had been a ward clerk at the Crofton Convalescent Center since November 1993. She was named Employee of the Month in June.
TTC "It's been very difficult for everyone," said a supervisor at the center, who did not want to be named.
Neighbor Barbara Neff commented on Ms. Keefer's love of gardening, pointing to a marigold bed in front of Ms. Keefer's home. "It's been kind of sad," she said.