Constance Canty had "this feeling" Friday morning when she woke up that she would never see her 17-year-old daughter alive again. The daughter, Deborah Ann Brooks, had left their Northeast Washington home the night before to go to a nearby drugstore to have a prescription filled. She did not return.
Neighbors and friends searched the quiet Brookland neighborhood near Catholic University Friday for the teen-ager, who was called "Missy." A blood-stained paper bag containing her prescription was found a block from her home.
As neighbors searched, two deer hunters 30 miles away in rural Charles County stumbled upon a partially clad body covered with trash in a wooded area near the Prince George's County line. The body was that of Deborah Ann Brooks. She had been stabbed several times in the chest, back, legs and throat.
The teen-ager was clothed only in her underwear. Police believe she had been sexually assaulted, although they are awaiting conclusive test results from the Maryland state medical examiner's office. Police said there was so much blood near the body that they believe she was killed after being brought into Maryland. She had several cuts on the palms of her hands, which police speculate were the result of her trying to defend herself. Her costume jewelry, including rings, bracelets and necklaces, were still on her body. Her pocketbook has not been found.
Yesterday, police were still baffled why Brooks was killed and how she ended up in Charles County near Waldorf, southeast of Washington.
"They just snatched her up off the street like she didn't belong to nobody," Canty, the victim's mother, said as she sat in the living room of her home in the 1400 block of Monroe Street SE.
Canty said her daughter, an 11th grader at McKinley High School, left their home about 8:30 p.m. Thursday. "She only had 30 minutes to get to the drugstore, and I told her she wouldn't make it," Canty said. "But she said she would because she was going to run."
She said her daughter rarely went anywhere without her friends, but because she did not have much time, she went alone.
When Brooks did not return after an hour, Canty said she became concerned.
She and friends went door-to-door in the neighborhood that night to see if anyone had seen her. No one had.
The next day, they continued to search. A friend found a bag containing the prescription in a driveway about a block from their home.
Canty said she went to the police station and filed a missing person's report after the prescription bag was found. That Friday night, D.C. police, neighbors and friends continued to search for Brooks.
On Saturday, Charles County sherif investigators contacted D.C. police about the body which had been discovered in a wooded area about 1,000 feet off Sharpersville Road on Friday by the two deer hunters. D.C. police said the description matched that of Brooks.
Canty was notified and, on Sunday, family members drove to Waldorf and identified Brooks.
"She was just a regular girl," said Elaine McRae, a childhood friend of Brooks. "Everybody knew her."
Canty said her daughter, who enjoyed crocheting, wanted to pursue a nursing career. She is survived by two brothers, Paul, a 16-year-old who attends McKinley High School, and Frederick, who is in the Army.
The incident has upset residents in the quiet, tree-lined Brookland neighborhood. "I am very distraught about it," said Councilmember William Spaulding (D-Ward 5), who plans to meet with residents Saturday at 5th District police headquarters to discuss crime in the area.
Deputy Police Chief Carl V. Profater, commander of the 5th District, said the Brookland area has not experienced an unusual rash of violence. "I don't consider one incident or a sporadic number of incidents spread over a period of time to be a crime wave," he said. "However, I am concerned about this and other incidents."