The Maryland medical examiner's office reported yesterday that chemical tests may not reveal what killed Dennis White and his daughter Donna, whose bodies where found May 5 in their Temple Hills home.
Dr. Gregory Kauffman, an assistant state medical examiner, said autopsies on the bodies of White, 33, and his 15-year-old daughter failed to uncover evidence that they had been poisoned with oven cleaner.
Ann Marie Spence, 28, of New York has been charged with two counts of attempted murder that police said were based on a statement in which she said she put oven cleaner and cocaine in the Whites' food.
Kauffman said that because the Whites had been dead for about 10 days, it would be difficult to detect cocaine in their tissues, because the drug's chemical composition would have changed.
Kauffman also said that had there been sodium hydroxide, the main chemical in oven cleaner, present in the bodies, he "would have been able to see evidence of it at the time of the autopsy." But he found none.
Police found more than $1 million in cash at the Whites' house at 5319 Old Branch Ave. after the bodies were discovered.
State's Attorney Arthur Marshall said that until the final medical examiner's report is completed -- which Kauffman said will be about two weeks -- he will continue to prosecute Spence on the attempted murder charges.