Body found in trash that of missing 17-year-old

By Paul Duggan
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A teenager found dead in a trash barrel in the District on Monday was identified by police as a 17-year-old Prince George's County girl who disappeared over the weekend.

Ebony Franklin was reported missing Saturday by her mother, with whom she lived in Capitol Heights, police said. They said the girl was fatally stabbed and stuffed in the barrel in a back alley off 11th and Fairmont streets NW in Columbia Heights.

An acquaintance said Ebony, who had lived in Columbia Heights before moving to Maryland, was a student at Cardozo High School, two blocks south of where her body was found. Police said she often visited her father in Northwest Washington.

Homicide detectives investigating the slaying Tuesday night were attempting to piece together the girl's movements over the weekend, police said.

Her mother reported her missing at about 8:40 p.m. Saturday, filing a report at the Prince George's police station in Palmer Park, said Cpl. Clinton Copeland, a county police spokesman. Although Ebony had last been seen in the District, county officers took the report because she was a Prince George's resident.

County police initially classified Ebony as a "non-critical" missing person because she was almost an adult and had no history of mental impairment that would have put her at risk, Copeland said. He declined to comment further, citing the investigation.

The body, part of which was visible in the barrel, was discovered by a passerby about 1 p.m. Monday, said D.C. Council member Jim Graham (D-Ward 1), who represents the area.

Acquaintances gathered Tuesday at the townhouse Ebony shared with her mother in the 4600 block of Pistachio Lane in Capitol Heights. Her distraught mother spoke briefly with a television reporter but was emotionally overwhelmed and shared no details about her daughter's life.

Others at the home also declined to speak with reporters. One man pulled a hood over his head as he arrived and threatened to "get my gun" and shoot several television camera operators if they did not stop filming.

He then dashed across the lawn toward them, picked up a camera tripod and, wielding it like a baseball bat, threatened to smash a reporter's car window before other people emerged from the townhouse and tried to restrain him.

Before they led the man into the house, he tried to wrestle a camera away from one operator, knocking her to the ground in the process. She was not hurt.

Staff writer Matt Zapotosky contributed to this report.

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