Search for missing Germantown boy continues

October 14, 2011

Montgomery County detectives continued an intense search for the missing 11-year-old son of a slain Germantown woman, but they have been unable to track his movements since at least Oct. 2, officials said Friday.

“We’re still working with the hope he is alive,” said Capt. Paul Starks, a police spokesman. “All our strategies are built on that hope.”

But there was little good news on that front. Detectives tried Thursday night to get information about the child from Curtis M. Lopez, the slain woman’s estranged husband, who is charged in her death. But he offered no help, according to two law enforcement officials with knowledge of the case.

Friends of the missing child, William McQuain, planned to gather for a prayer vigil Friday night outside Kingsview Middle School. His youth football team, part of the Germantown Panthers football program, was holding a practice there as well.

“A real mild-mannered, respectful kid,” one of his coaches, Xavier Twine, said Friday. “He was one of the kids who stood there, eyes at attention, looking at the coaches.”

Police were still trying to determine why it took almost two weeks for anyone to report the boy or his mother missing. The two lived in an apartment on Briarcliff Terrace in Germantown. Police said they first learned of possible trouble Wednesday. They entered the apartment through a window.

Inside, police found the body of Jane McQuain, 51, and no sign of William. On Friday, the Maryland state medical examiner ruled her death a homicide and said she died of stab wounds and blunt-force trauma.

Officials have said it appears that McQuain had been dead for at least several days. On Friday, they declined to give a more specific time frame.

Inside the apartment, “we’ve got no indication that there was any struggle involving” William, Montgomery Police Chief J. Thomas Manger said Friday.

At first, he said, police picked up information that William might have left on a planned trip with Lopez. They hoped that when the found Lopez, they would find William, Manger said.

But when Lopez was picked up Thursday morning in North Carolina, there was no sign of his stepson.

Detectives have spoken with relatives, friends and neighbors of Jane and William McQuain, Starks said. The detectives found signs that they might both have been alive through the first weekend of October.

“After the weekend of October 1st and 2nd, the sightings and the activity ceases,” Starks said.

William had just started the sixth grade at Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School in Germantown.

Under school policy, officials send automated calls to parents when students have unexcused absences.

When those calls do not receive a response after four days, the school guidance counselors also start making live calls to emergency contacts, said Dana Tofig, a school system spokesman. Those calls were made by early this week in the McQuain case, he said.

King Middle School has 600 students, and the county school system has 147,000 students. Tofig said that if school officials filed missing-persons reports in all cases of unexcused absences, they would overwhelm law enforcement officials.

“It’s not practical for us to be calling police every time a student is truant,” Tofig said. “We do not call the police unless we have an indication that someone is in danger.”

In this case, he said, school officials did not appear to have such an indication.

“If that had come to our attention, we would have taken action immediately,” Tofig said.

More from PostLocal:

Co-defendant in murder of D.C. teen pleads guilty

Wal-Mart interest in Shirlington site prompts zoning questions

More stars join in King Memorial dedication

Dan Morse covers courts and crime in Montgomery County. He arrived at the paper in 2005, after reporting stops at the Wall Street Journal, Baltimore Sun and Montgomery (Ala.) Advertiser, where he was a Pulitzer Prize finalist. He is the author of The Yoga Store Murder.
Continue reading 10 minutes left
Comments
Show Comments
Most Read Local