Joseph H. Scott recently bought his 14 year-old daugher a $3,000 encyclopedia set, hoping that she would rise above the rough, drug-infested neighborhood around Hanover Place NW, and be somebody.
"She would lay across her bed reading her books and that encyclopedia for hours, and I had to make her stop so she wouldn't hurt her eyes," he said.
Yesterday, Scott identified his daughter, Gloria, missing from home since Saturday, as the unidentified woman at the city morgue.
Police said her body was found at 9 a.m. Sunday in Rock Creek Park by youths hiking through a wooded area near Beach Drive. She was wearing a bright red blazer, tan pullover and baggy jeans. Her Newport cigarettes were in the blazer pocket.
According to police and relatives she had been stabbed several times in the head, chest, arm and back. No money for the slaying has been found, police said.
Tearfully, Scott remembered his daughter, his "heart," at their modest home on Hanover Place NW, a street one-half-block long, cut off from busy North Capitol Street by an underpass at one end, and with a dilapidated warehouse area at the other end.
"I don't understand what kind of person would have done this to her," said Scott, looking outside the living room window where teen-age youths gathered at 2:30 in the afternoon in front of another house, sparring with each other while a car radio blared.
"I wanted here to grow up and be somebody," said Scott, an automobile mechanic. "I just bought her $3,000 worth of encylopedias. The salesman said she could use that to carry her through college."
Gloria was the baby, the youngest of his six children, the only one who still lived at home.
Scott said the last time he saw his daughter was Saturday morning as she cooked his breakfast and began washing the laundry.
Her stepmother, Rosena, who works as a dishwasher at a Virginia Hot Shoppes cafeteria, said Gloria called her at work about 10 a.m. Saturday, saying she was on the way to visit a girlfriend who lived on 12th Street NW. According to Scott, the girlfriend and her mother said Gloria never arrived.
"She never got in trouble with the law or anything like that, but she did slip out without our permission," Rosena Scott said. "Once, she slipped out and stayed four days.
"But she would usually call me at work at night and we would talk so that I would be sure she was all right," she said. "We worried when she didn't come home, but we thought she had slipped out again."
"Oh, we punished her when she did things like that," her father said. "We didn't allow her to date or bring boys to the home either."
Scott said he was concerned about the often rude boys who called for Gloria late at night. Scott and her stepmother warned the girl about bad influences, yet they could not keep her from leaving while they were both at work.
Her father cried as he showed a visitor Gloria's simple belongings in her sparsely decorated room. Toiletries were piled on an old dresser and along one wall, the new encyclopedia nearly filled a wooden bookcase. On the walls were red, hand-lettered lists she made of things to do and buy, mostly clothing and gifts, and two certificates, one for winning a spelling bee, another a composition award from Terrell Junior High School, where she was an eighth grader.
At Terrell Junior High, classmates were shocked at the violent death of the quiet, friendly girl.
"I can picture my mother in her grave," said classmate Rita Garey, "and I can picture myself in my grave, but I can't picture Gloria in hers. She never fought with anybody, she never had no enemies."
Her homeroom teacher, Sandra Maddox, described Gloria Scott as "a model student who had the highest average in the homeroom, all B's and A's . . . She sat near my desk, did all the work she was supposed to do. I could really depend on her.
"The first thing I thought when I heard she was dead was that she wouldn't be able to go to college. I would always tell her that she had potential, that if she worked she could go to college. And she'd always smile and say, 'Yes, Ms. Maddox.'"
Curtrina Hoston, 12, and her sister Yvette Brown, 13, Scott's next-door neighbors, remembered the many afternoons and evenings when they would sit on the porch steps, sometimes crocheting or sewing, but always talking and daydreaming about boys, marriage, careers and fashions.
Another neighbor, Jenell Williams, 17, in some ways a big sister to Gloria, remembered Gloria's dating with several boys, "breaking up a lot, then always getting back together."
"She was so young, she was experimenting with life and learning what it was all about," Williams said.