By Lori Aratani and Katherine Shaver
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, April 4, 2007
A mother found the bodies of her two children and their father in the woods off a rural road in northern Montgomery County, dead in an apparent murder-suicide, police said yesterday.
Police said the 1-year-old boy, 3-year-old girl and 35-year-old man were discovered shortly after 3 p.m. in the Boyds area. Officers did not release any names.
The man called the children's mother yesterday afternoon and told her to meet him in the area because he was going to harm the children, Montgomery police spokeswoman Melanie Hadley said. She said that the mother and father "had been having problems" but didn't know details. The two, both of whom lived in the county, were not married.
The mother, who police said is 42, came upon the man's pickup truck parked in the 16700 block of Barnesville Road and followed a path that led into thick woods on the west side of the road, police said. About 100 yards in, she found the bodies.
She called 911 at 3:11 p.m. to report a suicide, Hadley said. When officers arrived, they attempted cardiopulmonary resuscitation on the children, but they and their father were dead, police said.
Police declined to say how they died or whether any weapon was found.
The deaths occurred about a week after authorities found a Frederick man and his four children dead in their townhouse. Pedro Rodriguez, 28, hanged himself from a second-story banister. His three daughters, ages 1 to 9, had been suffocated, and his 3-year-old son was killed by blunt trauma. Police are searching for the children's mother, Deysi Benitez, 25.
The site where the bodies were found yesterday, west of Interstate 270 and three miles south of the Frederick County line, is mostly rural, with houses few and far between, residents said.
Montgomery lawyer Robin Ficker, whose house is near the site, said he didn't notice a truck parked near Barnesville Road when he left for work yesterday at 8:30 a.m.
"I didn't hear anything remarkable or notice anything remarkable," Ficker said. "The dogs didn't bark or anything."
Ficker said he didn't know of any young children living in the area.
Police closed Barnesville Road for much of the afternoon and kept the media about a quarter-mile away in the parking lot of the Barnesville School. Autopsies will be conducted today or tomorrow, police said.
Aleta White of Frederick and her 14-year-old daughter, Raquel, were trying to use the road to get to a farm where Raquel's horse is boarded. They said they think they know the children's mother.
"I'm in disbelief," White said. "No one ever knows the reason these things happen."
Staff researcher Meg Smith contributed to this report.