The Maryland state medical examiner's office confirmed yesterday afternoon that the body found Tuesday night in a heavily wooded area of Bowie was that of Elizabeth Archard, 13, who had been missing from her Annapolis home since Monday afternoon.
Archard was found shot to death in a trash dump at about 8 p.m. Tuesday by a couple walking in the area, Prince George's County police said. The trash dump, near Governor Bridge Road, is less than a mile from the Prince George's-Anne Arundel county line.
Police sources said that Archard had been shot at least once in the neck, and was found fully clothed. They said there was no evidence that she had been sexually molested.
Last night Prince George's police were questioning several witnesses who saw Archard talking to a man near the intersection of Spa and Forest Drive Roads a little more than a mile from her home at 453 Waggoman Cir. at about 1 p.m. Monday.
"They're trying to draw a composite picture of the man seen with Lizzy," said one neighbor who said her husband had seen the girl talking to the unknown man."My husband was walking towards town and he saw her stopped on her bicycle with one foot on it and one foot off it," the woman said.
"He said it looked like she had just stopped and had turned her head to talk to the man. He was just getting out of the car which he had parked behind her."
The woman said her husband described the man as white, about 6 feet tall and quite burly. She added that other witnesses had given conflicting accounts of the man's size.
Archard apparently stopped her bicycle while on her way home from a dentst's appointment near the Annapolis Pony and Riding Ring, which is diagonally across the road from Annapolis Junior High School. She was to have begun classes there as a ninth grader next Tuesday.
Her bicycle was found there by Anne Arundel County police Monday afternoon after she was reported missing and county and state police both joined to search the area.
Elizabeth Archard was the third of five children. Her father, John Archard, who had worked for the federal government, died of a brain tumor in 1974, and her mother, Barbara, then married Phillip Hale, an Annapolis lawyer.
Hale, who had been the family lawyer, moved into the two-story home called "Bedlam," where the Archard children had grown up, rather than move the family, neighbors said.
Neighbors and friends of the Archard children said that Hale was very strict with his stepchildren. Until two weeks ago only John, 16, the oldest child of the family, owned a bicycle.
But Lynetta, 15, Elizabeth, 13, Lee, 12, and Charlton, 11, all saved up and together bought bicycles two weeks ago.
"She loved to ride her bicycle," Lynetta said yesterday. "That was her new thing this summer. At school she really enjoyed the violin a lot. She was a good student."
Archard was to have been first violinist in the school orchestra this fall and had been chosen by her classmates to conduct the spring concert at Annapolis Junior High.
"Everybody around here knew how much Lizzy loved the violin. She played since third grade," said Lars Olson, 13, of 438 Ferry Point Rd. "She used to sing a lot.
"The kids in the family were all pretty close," he added. "They didn't dislike (their stepfather) but he was extremely strict. They all had to be in bed by, like, 9:30."
All the boys in the neighborhood described Elizabeth as "extremely pretty but not dating yet."
Mary Gilmour, of 2707 Willow Rd., for whom Archard babysat frequently, said, "She was a lovely girl, very quiet, respectful and shy.
"I knew she hadn't (run away). She just wouldn't. It's a very close family. The family was very well disciplined."
Archard's family, described as very devout members of nearby St. Luke's Chapel, had returned two weeks ago from vacationing at Ocracoke, N.C. It was at that point that she bought her bicycle from her babysitting [TEXT OMITTED FROM SOURCE]