The decomposed body of an apparent slaying victim was found on the grounds of the D.C. Children's Center in Laurel on Monday afternoon, U.S. Park Police reported yesterday.
The unidentified woman was apparently killed by a blow on the head, according to the Maryland state medical examiner's office, which classified the death a homicide.
The body was found by an employe of the youth correctional facility near railroad tracks behind the central warehouse of the complex, which houses about 280 young men and 18 young women.
Police said they were awaiting word from the medical examiner on the identity and the time of death.
"We are concerned that it might have been one of our residents, but we are not sure," said Jimmy L. Wyatt, chief of institutional care services for the city's Youth Services Administration.
Runaways from the center have been a persistent problem and Wyatt said yesterday that two young women from the Cedar Knoll division at the center have been missing since April 27 and May 5. However, he said police have given him no indication the victim was a resident.
Audrey Rowe, D.C. commissioner of social services, which oversees the institution, said yesterday she was told that both missing women had been located, but youth services officials said that was not confirmed.