An Anne Arundel County man led police to the unburied body of his 4-year-old daughter in woods near Baltimore-Washington International Airport on Sunday and told them he had left her there eight months ago after she died suddenly at his home, police said yesterday.
While police continue to investigate, they said they have no evidence that it was a homicide. The father has not been charged with any crime. State and county officials said they were unaware of any criminal law regarding the disposal of a body or the reporting of a death.
"He's not a suspect right now," said Lt. Jeffrey A. Kelly, a county police spokesman, declining to identify the Severn man. "We're just investigating a suspicious death."
Police also declined to release the name of the girl, saying that an autopsy had not yet confirmed that the decomposing body was that of his daughter.
The case began to unfold on Friday, when a New Jersey woman reported to police in Lakewood, N.J., that her young daughter was missing. She said that she had sent the girl to visit her father in Maryland in December and that the girl never returned.
Anne Arundel police said they did not know why the woman did not report the girl missing earlier.
Lakewood police would not make a spokesman available yesterday evening to discuss the case.
When an Anne Arundel police officer visited the girl's father Friday evening, the man said his daughter was not there, but he allowed the officer to search his home. The officer found no indication of a child living there.
On Saturday, police received information that the child had died. Police would not say how they learned that. Detectives questioned the man Saturday night and Sunday morning, and the man offered more information.
The man told police that the child had died suddenly, Kelly said, and that he tried unsuccessfully to revive her before leaving the body in a wooded area near Dorsey and WB&A roads, not far from his home.
Kelly said he did not know whether the man explained his actions or gave any more details of the girl's death.
The state medical examiner in Baltimore performed an autopsy on the body yesterday, but no information was available about the possible cause of death.