Slain AU professor's Jeep found; driver arrested

Montgomery County police say they found signs of a struggle at the Bethesda home of American University professor Sue Marcum, who was found dead Monday morning.
By Dan Morse and Debbi Wilgoren
Washington Post Staff Writers
Tuesday, October 26, 2010; 9:00 AM

D.C. police have charged an 18-year-old man with driving a Jeep Cherokee that belonged to the American University professor found slain inside her Montgomery County home Monday morning.

Deandrew Hamlin, 18, allegedly was driving the Jeep on Benning Road NE late Monday when the vehicle passed a license plate recognition sensor, D.C. police spokeswoman Istmania Bonilla said. The sensor transmitted a message to police dispatchers that the Jeep, which had been reported stolen, was in the area.

Police went to Benning Road and attempted to stop the Jeep, Bonilla said, then gave chase when Hamlin allegedly tried to drive away. The Jeep crashed into a crosswalk signpost at the intersection of New York Avenue and M Street NW. Hamlin, who police said lives in Northwest Washington, was taken into custody and charged with unauthorized use of a vehicle and felony fleeing.

Montgomery County police spokesman Capt. Paul Starks said detectives want to speak to Hamlin about the slaying of Sue Ann Marcum, 52, who they believe may have been killed by someone intending to burglarize her home.

"We're viewing this as a significant piece of the case," Starks said Tuesday morning. "We want to know how he came into possession of the vehicle, and whether he played a role" in Marcum's death.

Marcum had trauma to her body, police said, but they declined to be more specific about her injuries. She was found in the lower level of her red brick house in the Glen Echo area by a friend who had become concerned and went to check on her.

Described by neighbors, colleagues and students as energetic and caring, Marcum had taught at AU's Kogod School of Business since 1999. Before that, she served as the tax director for the circus company Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey, a position she often referenced in the classroom.

"She used it as a talking point," said Lara Kline, an assistant dean at Kogod. "You would see students light up over accounting."

In a statement, school officials said Marcum "was a beloved member of the Kogod community and her sudden death is a tremendous loss."

Law enforcement sources said that the investigation was pointing toward a burglary gone bad in Marcum's home in the 6200 block of Massachusetts Avenue. Police said there were signs of a struggle.

Police issued an alert for Marcum's vehicle, described as a gold or tan 1999 Jeep Cherokee with Virginia tags YXE 1456.

After police pursued the Jeep and it crashed, Hamlin complained of neck and back pain, D.C. police said. He was taken to a hospital to be evaluated, but the injuries were not life-threatening.

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