The 17-year-old former boyfriend of Hae Min Lee was charged yesterday in the killing of the Woodlawn High School student, whose body was found Feb. 9 in a West Baltimore park, city police said.
Sgt. Scott Rowe, a police spokesman, said Adnan Musud Syed was arrested about 6 a.m. at his home in the 7000 block of Johnnycake Road in Woodlawn, Baltimore County, and taken to the Central Booking and Intake Center, where he was charged as an adult with first-degree murder.
Rowe said Syed and Lee, 18, were classmates and became friends in May. At some point in the relationship, Rowe said, they started dating.
"Apparently, Miss Lee wished to terminate the relationship," he said.
The arrest brought some relief to Lee's family, who live in the 7300 block of Rockridge Road, Woodlawn.
Speaking for his grandparents and mother, Lee's brother, Young, 16, said news of the arrest brought the family "some closure and some peace."
"We were kind of surprised because she told us that he was one of her best friends," said Young Lee, sitting in the living room with his mother and grandparents.
Lee was last seen about 3 p.m. Jan. 13, driving from school in her 1998 Nissan Sentra, police said. She was going to pick up her 6-year-old niece and go to her after-school job at a LensCrafters optical shop.
A few weeks later, a man walking in a secluded section of Leakin Park in West Baltimore found Lee's body partially buried near the 4400 block of Franklintown Road, police said. Her car was found nearby.
Autopsy results showed that Lee had been strangled, Rowe said.
The Woodlawn community reacted with outrage over Lee's disappearance and killing. She was remembered as a scholar-athlete who aspired to be an optician. She played on her school's lacrosse and field hockey teams and was manager of the wrestling team.
"We were happy about it [the community] coming together to fight the violence," Young Lee said of the candlelight vigils held in memory of his sister.
Young Lee and his mother and sister emigrated from Korea seven years ago to live with his grandparents.
Young Lee said he did not know how long his sister and Syed dated, but thinks she broke up with him in November.
Young Lee said he never met Syed, and the family didn't recall his sister having problems with him.
Through her son, the victim's mother, Youn Kim, said, "I feel more sad and shocked than when they found the body. I can't believe that one of her friends was responsible."
Pub Date: 3/01/99