A D.C. police officer has been charged with murder after police found a woman and her one-year-old child dead in the Hillcrest Heights area of Prince George’s County, police said Friday.
Richmond D. Phillips, 39, of the 2900 block of Oxon Park St. in Temple Hills, was charged with murder in the death of Wynetta Wright, 20, said Prince George’s County Deputy Police Chief Gary Cunningham.
Phillips had been subpoenaed to appear at a Tuesday morning hearing to establish paternity at the Prince George’s County courthouse, according to court records. Wynetta Wright alleged that Phillips fathered Jaylin Wright, who was born last June 6, the papers said.
Wright was last seen Monday and her mother reported her missing on Tuesday.
Police found Wright’s body Thursday evening at Oxon Run Spring Valley Park, with what Cunningham called “obvious signs of trauma.” He would not say what those signs were. An autopsy will determine a cause of death.
A short time after police found Wright, they found her car, also in the park. Jaylin still was in her
car seat, and Cunningham suggested she may have died from heat exposure during the brutally hot week. The baby’s body had no signs of trauma, he said.
Wright lived in Temple Hills and worked as a volunteer police explorer with the Prince George’s sheriff’s department.
Phillips is an active duty vice officer who has been on the force since 2003. Cunningham said he came into a police station late Thursday. He didn’t say whether Phillips came in before or after the bodies were found.
Police were at Phillips’s Temple Hills home early Friday afternoon. ”I don’t know anything that happened,” said his mother, Ruth Harris, who said she also lives there.
Police put out a news release on Wednesday saying Wynetta Wright was missing. She was last seen Monday in the 3300 block of Curtis Drive in Temple Hills, police said.
“This is a horrific crime, and our deepest sympathies go out to the Wright family,” said D.C. Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier in a statement. “As we have seen all too often, domestic violence has its impact on the most innocent victims.”
Police had initially charged Phillips in the baby’s death, as well as Wright’s slaying. But officials are now awaiting autopsy results before deciding on charges in Jaylin’s death.
Post reporters Ruben Castaneda, Hamil Harris, Justin Jouvenal, Matt Zapotosky and Theola Labbé-DeBose and researcher Magda Jean-Louis contributed to this story.
This item has been updated.