The Baltimore Sun

DNA tests confirm identity of dead child

DNA tests confirm that the body recovered from the Patapsco River is that of Turner Jordan Nelson, a 3-year-old whose father is accused of throwing him off a bridge five months ago, Maryland Transportation Authority Police said yesterday.

Police said Stephen Todd Nelson, 37, of Baltimore admitted tossing the boy off the Francis Scott Key Bridge on Feb. 3.

He is charged with first-degree murder, and his trial is set to begin today in Baltimore Circuit Court.

Cpl. Jonathan Green, a spokesman for the MdTA police, said authorities never suspended the search for the boy, whose body was found July 12 near Seagirt Marine Terminal.

Clothing recovered from the body matched the description of what the boy wore when he was last seen, according to a law enforcement source.

Turner's mother, Natisha Johnson, recently held a service for Turner, known as "TJ," after the body was recovered.

Brent Jones

Anne Arundel


Woman, child struck by vehicle, injured

A woman and a child were hospitalized last night after they were struck by a vehicle on a Linthicum street, a spokesman for the Anne Arundel County Fire Department said.

Shortly after 8 p.m., the woman, 39, and the girl, 11, were struck by a vehicle in the 800 block of Nursery Road, said Lt. Frank Fennell, the spokesman.

Fennell said the woman was taken to Maryland Shock Trauma Center, and the girl was taken Johns Hopkins Hospital's Children's Center.

The driver was taken to Baltimore-Washington Medical Center for treatment of minor injuries. Police were investigating.

Richard Irwin


Man linked to hit-run is chased and beaten

An Annapolis man involved with a hit-and-run accident was beaten by two people who apparently chased him from the scene of the crash, police said yesterday.

The man, a 52-year-old Timber Creek Drive resident who was not identified by police because he has not been charged, was found on the ground in the 900 block of Bay Ridge Ave. on Sunday night. He is alleged to have told officers that he was the driver of a Lincoln Navigator that witnesses said struck two parked cars and traffic signs about 9:15 p.m. The witnesses reported that the Navigator had fled the area.

The driver told officers that after the accident, two men chased his vehicle, which had lost the front driver's-side wheel, into the Eastport Shopping Center.

The driver said that he told the men that he would pay for the damages to the vehicles and was struck repeatedly until firetrucks and ambulances approached and his attackers fled.

The driver was taken to Maryland Shock Trauma Center.

Police spokesman Hal Dalton said police are exploring charges against the man. the incident occurred at Bay Ridge Avenue and Madison Street.

Justin Fenton


The bay

Blue crab population said to fall again

The Chesapeake Bay's 2008 blue crab population has dropped below last year's alarming levels, according to a report released yesterday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The report confirms that the bay's signature species remains in peril. The population of spawning-age blue crabs in the Chesapeake Bay in 2007-08 was 120 million, down from 143 million during the 2006-2007 season, according to NOAA's data. State and federal experts have set a population target of 200 million spawning-age crabs.

The numbers come from a closer analysis of the winter dredge survey, which was released in the spring. The survey counts crabs as they burrow in the mud and is regarded as one of the most accurate tools for counting crabs in the bay. State officials have said the survey can predict the crab population with 90 percent accuracy.

"It is additional information that basically confirms what has been out there," said NOAA fisheries biologist Derek Orner. "All the surveys were pointing in the same direction."

Last year, the baywide harvest of 43.5 million pounds was the lowest recorded since 1945. Scientists estimated that watermen would be removing more than 60 percent of the blue crabs in the bay if harvest pressure continued as expected - a rate of exploitation the population could not sustain.

Based on the winter dredge survey results, Maryland and Virginia enacted restrictions aimed at reducing the baywide female crab harvest by 34 percent. To reach that target, Maryland announced it would end the season for catching female crabs about two months early.

Rona Kobell

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