Bodies found in basement were stabbed Police search for car they believe killer stole


The man and woman whose bodies were found in the basement of a Northeast Baltimore rowhouse Wednesday had been stabbed, police said yesterday. Investigators were looking for a car that may have been taken by the killer.

Authorities identified the dead man as Gerald Duane Johnson, 35, of a second-floor apartment at 2027 Crestview Road. Police said they were awaiting autopsy results to positively identify the woman, who lived on the first floor.

Police released scant details of their investigation yesterday as questions about the case mounted on this quiet street of rowhouses.

Neighbors reported being shown a photograph taken by federal agents this spring of a wanted man apparently connected to the dead woman. The residents' interest piqued when they saw Internal Revenue Service agents assisting city police.

Domenic J. LaPonzina, a spokesman for the Baltimore IRS office, said Mr. Johnson worked in the Fallon Federal Building as a taxpayer service representative. His duties included answering

questions on the agency's toll-free hot line.

"Based on the position he had, we do not believe that this crime is work related," Mr. LaPonzina said.

Police said they believe the killer stole a car that Mr. Johnson was using. It was described as a white 1995 Chevrolet Cavalier with Maryland license plate CEY-041. Motor vehicle records show the car registered to National Car Rental at Baltimore-Washington International Airport. The agency reported the car stolen Sept. 27.

Police found the bodies when they forced their way into the home after several neighbors complained of a stench. Ralph E. Johnson, who lives next door, said the smell grew Wednesday. Meanwhile, the dead woman's cousin asked residents if they had seen her missing relative who lived in the house.

"Then it dawned on me," Mr. Johnson said. "I had a feeling there was bad news because [the house] was where the smell was coming from."

Agent Robert W. Weinhold Jr., a police spokesman, said officers found the body of the woman, in her 20s, in the basement about 10:45 a.m. He said detectives searching for evidence found Mr. Johnson's body three hours later in a "secluded" area of the basement.

The spokesman would not elaborate, adding only that both bodies were decomposed and had been stabbed several times in the chest. He said no evidence of ransacking or forced entry had been found. Mr. Johnson last was seen alive Friday, he said

He said detectives have not found any leads after residents told them about the wanted man.

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