According to Maurice Bynum’s mother, the last time family and friends saw the 22-year-old -- on Nov. 28 -- he was driving his sister's 2000 black Honda Accord.
On Monday, according to police and Tonya Bynum, the car turned up in an Oxon Hill impound lot. A male’s body was inside.
Police have not officially confirmed that Maurice Bynum was found in the car, or even that the car in the lot belonged to his sister. Cpl. Erica Johnson, a police spokeswoman, would only confirm that about 3:30 p.m. Monday, a male's body was found inside a black Honda Accord in the 1100 block of Elwin Road in the Oxon Hill area. The car was reported stolen in November, she said.
Tonya Bynum, who called police to the scene Monday, said she suspects the body is her son’s.
The series of events that led her to the impound lot began on Nov. 28, Tonya Bynum said, when Maurice borrowed the car. He never returned home, and family members immediately moved to report him and the car missing.
Tonya Bynum, 39, of Capitol Heights, said she immediately encountered resistance from police. Prince George's police told her that because Maurice was last seen in D.C., the Metropolitan Police Department would have to assign an investigator to her son's case, Tonya Bynum said. D.C. police told her to seek help where she lived -- in Maryland, Tonya Bynum said.
At the same time, Tonya Bynum said, she went to a district court commissioner's office to say her son had taken her daughter's Honda without authorization -- a procedural step to make sure police would be on the lookout for it.
"It was a lot," Tonya Bynum said. "I was so tired. I was like, nobody’s family should have suffered the way the way I suffered."
Tonya Bynum said she soon began having dreams her son was in the trunk of the missing Honda, but police made little progress on the case. On Monday, she said, her daughter got a letter: the car had been impounded and was sitting in a lot in Oxon Hill.
Tonya Bynum said she rushed to the impound lot in the 1100 block of Elwin Road. She told the lot's owner not to touch the vehicle "because there's a body on this case," then called 911 herself. A police source confirmed her as the 911 caller.
Police did not arrive for 30 minutes, according to Tonya Bynum, who said she drove to the nearby District IV station to seek help. When she returned to the lot, she said, the area had been taped off as a crime scene.
Tonya Bynum said she was told by an employee at the impound lot and others that the car had been sitting on Kisconko Turn in Fort Washington since December, and it had arrived in the impound lot on March 8.
She said she questioned why police did not tow the vehicle sooner, and why when they eventually did tow it they did not inspect it for a body.
A person who answered the phone at the lot declined to comment.
"It was just bad police work all the way around," she said. "This like the worst, the pain and suffering is the worst."
"Clearly, there are some questions that need to be answered,” Maj. Andrew Ellis, the public affairs commander for the Prince George's Police Department, said Monday. “I need some time to look into it."
This item has been updated since it was first published.