Man Held in Connection With Father's Slaying

By Lena H. Sun
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, October 1, 2006

A Fairfax County man missing since his father's dismembered body was discovered Thursday in a car trunk has been arrested in Ohio in connection with the killing, police said yesterday.

Dail Brown Jr., 35, was taken into custody about 9:30 p.m. Friday at a motel west of Columbus after authorities secured a murder warrant. The body of his father, Dail Brown, 64, a former top official in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, was found inside a family car at their Vienna home. An autopsy showed he died from a "traumatic injury."

Police had been searching for the younger Brown as well as the family's silver 2002 Ford Escape, which was found at a Knight's Inn motel near Columbus. Brown is being held in Ohio's Franklin County Jail until Fairfax County authorities can arrange for his extradition. Police said he will be served with the murder warrant when he is returned to Fairfax.

Initially police had considered the son to be "a person of interest." Fairfax police Lt. Richard J. Perez said yesterday that about 6 p.m. Friday, police developed additional information from the crime scene at the family's house in the Carriage Hill neighborhood and from the sedan where the body was discovered. About the same time, police received leads on the younger man's location.

"Things started unfolding very rapidly," Perez said. Police secured the murder warrant against Brown by 7 p.m.

Perez declined to elaborate on what police had found at the crime scene. On Thursday, Patti R. Brown had discovered signs of a bloody struggle inside the house and reported her husband and son missing. There were no signs of a break-in or theft, police said.

Perez declined to say whether the son made a statement to police when he was arrested.

The son lived with his parents and younger sister in a brick rambler on Carrhill Road. The elder Brown, a marine biologist, retired last month as head of the National Marine Fisheries Service's Ecosystem Assessment Division, which is part of NOAA, whose offices are in Silver Spring and downtown Washington. During his career, he was a widely published authority on coastal conservation and coral reef preservation.

Court records show the son was arrested in 1996 for possession of marijuana and a concealed weapon. He pleaded guilty to the weapons charge, the drug charge was dropped, and he spent 10 days in jail, according to the records. He did not have a weapon when he was taken into custody, police said.

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