On March 2, 1996, my identical twin, Jody, was shot in the back on York Road in Baltimore County; 23 years later, we have no answers and no records. I was told several years ago that her files were in a closet. I filed a Maryland Public Information Act request to obtain them, and all of a sudden I’m told her case an open investigation and that the case files can’t be disclosed.
My mother, who’s nearing 80, and I continued to press for the autopsy, medical records, original police report, etc. Recently, we were told it would be “inappropriate and detrimental” for us to see these things. What? We’ve already lost Jody, what can the records add to that? It makes me wonder if it’s more “inappropriate and detrimental” for Baltimore County law enforcement to show us their work — or lack thereof.
My family has paid out almost $30,000 in legal fees trying to obtain those records and installing billboards in the area in the hopes it will help find my sister’s killer. I have reached out to many politicians in Maryland, including the new Baltimore County executive. I have not heard back from most of them. Larry Hogan’s office reached out to me after hearing about one of the billboards, which is a direct plea to the governor, but nothing has come of it.
My father, a retired Marine colonel and career prosecutor for violent crime in Anne Arundel County, has since died of cancer. I watched him die, and it was so incredibly devastating to know he never got to see justice for Jody, particularly knowing he fought for justice for so many others. My grandfather, too, sought justice as a career FBI officer under J. Edgar Hoover.
From the beginning, my family has dealt with many frustrations over the handling of my sister’s case. A fingerprint kit was left behind in her car when it was returned to us. A detective said he would get around to interviewing a person of interest largely because there was a great chicken and crab cake restaurant in that area he wanted to try. Over the years, I found out that people who should’ve been interviewed weren’t, and that some people I was told had been interviewed hadn’t.
I have done countless interviews over the years with TV (including a recent interview with NBC’s Lester Holt), radio, newspaper, magazine and podcast journalists. One of my interviews was with Crime Online; they reached out with many questions to the detective and never got a response — after being told, “yes, send me the questions.”
It is believed that the suspect touched my sister when he reached into her car, over her dead body after shooting her. A forensic DNA collection company based in Utah recently offered to try to extract DNA from her clothes and process the filters within a week in a private lab, at no cost to the Baltimore County Police Department. And yet they won’t take this offer. Why?
When Jody died, part of me was ripped away, and the other part of me became laser focused on finding out what happened. I’ve been pushing for many things to be done on her case, and I have done a lot of my own investigation — putting myself in danger. I recently had a law firm from Washington, D.C., come to my aid, pro bono, and information is coming out that should have been known 23 years ago.
My life was forever changed that day. The anxiety and depression have been overwhelming. Not getting answers and working with the “system” has been so incredibly difficult. Sometimes, I feel as if I’m a criminal.
Where are the rights for the families? And how long will this investigation be “ongoing?”
Until I die?