A three-year investigation that began when the strangled body of Terry Lee Keefer was found in the woods near a utility pole resulted yesterday in the arrest of her husband, David Allen Dicus.
Their 14-year-old son, Lucas Dicus, watched as his father was led from their Glen Burnie basement apartment, charged with first- and second-degree murder in the killing of Keefer in July 1995.
"The police pulled a circus act this morning. Dicus hasn't run and is not guilty of killing his wife," said Gil Cochran, an Annapolis lawyer representing Dicus. "The police always think it is the jealous husband."
"We are very relieved that the arrest has been able to be made," said Keefer's mother, Muriel Keefer. "I am just sorry it is my son-in-law. Dicus has always been, in our mind, the main suspect."
A grand jury has been meeting since August, evaluating evidence compiled by Anne Arundel County police. The state attorney's office unsealed the indictment yesterday.
"It was just a matter of looking over the evidence again and again, reinterviewing people till enough of the evidence was obtained," said Officer Carol Frye, spokeswoman for Anne Arundel police.
"Finally, after three years, we were able to make an arrest."
On July 28, the night before Keefer's 20-year high school reunion, she had a fight with her husband and left their home in Millersville to drive back to her job at Crofton Convalescence Center.
Dicus told police that between midnight and 2 a.m. Keefer, 37, drove her Toyota Tercel toward the center, where she was an administrative assistant.
Keefer never arrived, and a day and a half later, Dicus reported to police that she was missing. Police found her car parked along Interstate 97 with a flat tire.
Five weeks later, utility workers found her body about 25 yards from Route 216 in Howard County.
Keefer met Dicus at Northeast High School in Pasadena. They were friends who didn't date until after graduation. At the time of her death, they had been married 13 years and were active in community groups, founding a chapter of Parents Anonymous, a group that works to prevent child abuse.
"She was very outgoing. She liked to participate in Lucas' school activities. She was very well-liked," said Muriel Keefer.
Dicus, an unemployed telemarketer, was described by Keefer's mother as "very private." He aroused her suspicion when he had no reaction to his wife's disappearance, she said.
"He did not go searching for her," said Muriel Keefer.
She knew nothing of the arrest until police told her and her husband to pick up Lucas from the apartment he shared with his father, Keefer said.
The Keefers had not seen Lucas in more than a year. She would not say why.
"He is sorting this out by himself with no influence from us," said Muriel Keefer.
Pub Date: 12/02/98