D.C. police have found a partially buried body in the back yard of a rowhouse in Northwest Washington’s Shaw neighborhood, the same residence where on Friday a week-old corpse was discovered in an attic, department officials said.
A spokesperson said that the body in the yard was that of a man but that it has not been positively identified. An autopsy showed that he was beaten to death, and the case has been ruled a homicide.
Police said they are trying to determine whether the body is that of 23-year-old Delano DeWhitt Wingfield, who lived in the house and was reported missing June 3 by his grandmother.
Authorities said the body was found Monday afternoon during an extensive search for Wingfield. Police grew concerned about him during the investigation of the body found in the attic. Another occupant of the house was arrested in that case.
Now, one resident of the house is in custody, one is dead and a third is missing. Police said they have not sorted out what happened and have been interviewing friends and acquaintances.
Police were first called to the rowhouse, in the 1800 block of Eighth Street NW, on Friday after the homeowner’s uncle came by to do some repairs, smelled an odor and found the body in the attic under an air mattress. Police identified the victim as Leon Young, 22. Hours later, police arrested Young’s roommate, Jeffrey Bernard Neal, 21, and charged him with second-degree murder while armed.
Court charging documents say Neal told police that he confronted Young on June 7 while Young was standing naked in the bathroom and holding a Ninja-style knife.
Young said he had killed Wingfield, according to the Neal’s account. Neal told police that Young then lunged at him with the knife and cut him. He said he fought back, hitting Young twice in the head with a hammer, then dragging the body to the attic, court papers say.
D.C. police said they are still investigating Neal’s account, but the claims sparked a more intense search for Wingfield or his body.
Wingfield’s grandmother did not return calls Tuesday seeking comment. She had said earlier that the three roommates had gone to high school together and were friends.
Steven Lewis, 26, one of Young’s former co-workers at a restaurant in Northeast Washington, said that Young frequently complained about roommate troubles and that he was trying to save money to move out.