The nude body of a 21-year-old Georgetown University student who worked as an aide in a Washington law firm was discovered yesterday in a wooded area of Rock Creek Park underneath the Whitehurst Freeway.
Police said the woman, Catherine Theresa Schilling of 3613 N. St. NW, died of multiple gunshot wounds.
Schilling's body was discovered about 1 p.m. by coworkers who began searching for the woman yesterday after she did not report to her job by 10 a.m. She worked as a paralegal for the law firm of Spiegel & McDiarmid in the Watergate Office Building at 2600 Virginia Ave. NW.
"The police indicated they would have to wait 24 to 48 hours before they would go looking for here," said Sandra Strebel, the victim's supervisor at the law firm. "It was out of a sense of frustration that they [her coworkers] decided to look for here." The body was found near a path that the woman often used as a shortcut to her home, coworkers said.
Police said Schilling was last seen about 9:30 p.m. Monday when she left the law offices. She often took a shortcut home by walking along a path in Rock Creek Park under a tunnel and onto 29th Street, heading into Georgetown.
According to D.C. police, Schilling's colleagues had chided her recently about using the darkened path at night.
When Schilling did not reach home by 2:30 a.m. yesterday, Tracy Porter-Short, one of her roommates, called 2nd District police to report her missing, police said.
When she did not show up at work, Strebel said, one of the lawyers in the firm also called police to report her missing.
"She's a very conscientious person," Strebel said. "She was very prompt. She would always let us know when she would not be in."
Police said six workers in the law firm began searching for Schilling around noon.
Her nude body was discovered about an hour later, partially hidden in the underbrush on the east bank of Rock Creek about 300 yards from her office. Some of Schilling's clothes and several of her books were found nearby, police said.
Yesterday, several of her coworkers in the law firm were teary-eyed. Those who wanted to leave the office were told to do so.
"They are really upset," said Strebel. "There is no way you can expect anyone to do any work."
Schilling started working at the law firm last fall, Strebel said."She was well-liked," she said. "She seemed to enjoy her work. She was quiet and a very sweet person."
Strebel said she was impressed by Schilling's work. "She was terrific," Strebel said. "She was a very hard worker, a very good worker, a very bright girl."
Georgetown University officials said Schilling was a senior student in arts and science.
U.S. Park Police said joggers recently have complained that they have been attacked in the vicinity where Schilling's body was found, and one woman reported she had been raped.
A spokesman for the Park Police said special patrols have been assigned to the area since those incidents were reported.