Police arrested two people in Arizona on Wednesday in connection to the 2017 killing of an Annapolis woman, the Anne Arundel Police Department said Thursday.
With the aid of the Pima County Sheriff’s Department, officers arrested Christina Gail Harnish, 45, and William Eugene Rice Jr., 46, who police say are responsible for the murder of Megan Tilman, a 43-year-old woman. Rice had been previously identified as Tilman’s boyfriend.
Over the past two years, investigators have traveled the country following up on leads and interviewing witnesses and people of interest after remains displaying apparent trauma, later identified as Tilman’s, were discovered along a shoreline around 1:30 p.m. Oct. 18, 2017, in the area of Holly and Chesapeake drives in Shady Side. A family member reported Tilman missing on Nov. 1, 2017, after she had not been heard from since Sept. 26, 2017, police said.
Arrest warrants were obtained for Harnish and Rice on Jan. 19 of this year, police said. Each has been charged with first- and second-degree murder, conspiracy to commit first- and second-degree murder, as well as assault and other charges, said Lt. Jackie Davis, an Anne Arundel police spokesperson.
Rice, whose first name has been listed as “Williams” in police charging documents, is being held on $1 million bond in the Pima County Adult Detention Center.
Harnish is likely an alias for Crystal Stallings, a former roommate of Tilman and Rice, said Deputy James Allerton, a spokesperson for Pima County Sheriff’s Department. Stallings also goes by the first name Christina.
Rice and Harnish have been persons of interest in Tilman’s killing since at least 2020, according to Arizona news reports.
Harnish is being held there on a $500,000 bond, according to the detention center’s website.
The pair are awaiting extradition back to Maryland following their arrest on Wednesday.
“The outcome of this investigation would not have been possible if not for the tenacity of the Anne Arundel County Homicide Unit, the guidance from the Anne Arundel County State’s Attorney’s Office, assistance from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the cooperation and assistance of the Pima County Sherriff’s Department,” the department wrote in a news release.
In February 2019, the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner determined the human remains found along the shoreline in Shady Side displayed apparent trauma and determined they were from a homicide. Police obtained DNA samples from Tilman’s family, and the department’s Crime Laboratory Forensic Services Section compared samples with the remains and confirmed them as Tilman’s.
Jennifer Parks, Tilman’s cousin, said at the time her cousin was developmentally disabled. Jim Tilman, her father, said his daughter had been misled by others in the past.
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“Megan Tilman reportedly can be easily manipulated and has been described as having borderline intellectual functioning,” Annapolis police wrote in a 2018 release.
Tilman had become estranged from her family in the months preceding her disappearance, Annapolis police said in 2018, a year after her disappearance. She had been living in a town house on Rockwell Court in Annapolis with her mother, Gloria Owens, then 62, her boyfriend Rice, then 43, and Stallings, then 41, police said at the time.
Owens had moved out before Tilman’s disappearance, police said in 2018, and an eviction process was completed Nov. 1, 2017 — Rice and Stallings moved out of state.
Tilman left behind a daughter who was 7 years old in 2018, police said. Though she didn’t live with her daughter, Tilman maintained close contact with her, police said.
Jim Tilman said in 2018 that Megan Tilman also had an older daughter who was expecting a child. Rice told police at the time Tilman had left with a new boyfriend.
Police said they found Tilman’s 1998 Jeep Cherokee abandoned in a shopping center in Prince George’s County about two weeks after she was reported missing.
The department is continuing to seek information about the homicide and urge anyone with information to call the Anne Arundel County Homicide Unit at 410-222-4731. Individuals wishing to remain anonymous should call the Anne Arundel County police tip line at 410-222-4700 or Metro Crime Stoppers at 1-866-7LOCKUP.