The last time Joseph Aaron Demarest was seen alive, the 17-year-old boy was walking through his neighborhood off Waugh Chapel Road in September 1996. Then he disappeared.
His case was filed under missing persons until last spring when Anne Arundel Police detectives began working a theory that Demarest had been killed.
For the next several months, Detective Richard Robinson, who had been assigned to the homicide unit's Cold Case Squad, began poring over old police reports and detective notes, looking for potential witnesses.
In January, Robinson's work paid off: Two of Demarest's prior associates, Christopher Allen Bolen, 23, of Gambrills, and Stefan Tyson Bell, 25, of Waldorf, were indicted for murder in the case and arrested. Demarest's remains were recovered from a shallow grave, and his family was able to bury him.
For Robinson's hard work, Police Chief P. Thomas Shanahan singled him out earlier this week for the Chief's Award for Job Excellence, one of the premier citations given at the county's annual Police Foundation Awards Banquet, which was held Tuesday at Michael's 8th Avenue in Glen Burnie.
Robinson was given a red-white-and-blue ribbon to pin on his uniform.
Other honorees include the following recipients of the Silver Star Award, a silver-and-blue ribbon:
* The call for help came to Mary Kohlhepp as a 911 call, an "unknown disturbance," and when the corporal responded, she heard a woman crying, "She's trying to kill me!" Kohlhepp forced her way into the apartment and found a woman assaulting another woman, who suffered multiple stab wounds to her face, neck, back and arms and appeared to be in shock.
Kohlhepp pulled the suspect off the victim and handcuffed her. Backup arrived, and they gave emergency assistance to the victim until she was taken to a shock trauma unit. In the apartment, officers found a 10-inch knife, plus another large knife, a stun gun, surgical gloves and a change of clothes.
"The suspect . . . intended to take the life of the victim and, without the quick actions and calm demeanor of Corporal Kohlhepp, would most likely have succeeded," Shanahan noted.
* Last May 23, three suspects entered the Annapolis Bank and Trust on College Parkway, immediately threatened to kill employees and took off with a duffle bag of cash in a maroon Oldsmobile that had been stolen in Baltimore. Officer Michael Mulford waited for the suspects on Interstate 97 near Quarterfield Road. Sure enough, they drove past him and then began to flee.
Eventually, Mulford and Cpl. Scott Gall tracked down two suspects hiding in a van in a Baltimore parking lot. Other officers found the third suspect in weeds nearby, and the FBI found a fourth, the driver of the getaway car. They also recovered the duffle bag of money and a loaded handgun.
Mulford, Shanahan noted, positioned himself to be "at the right place at the right time," and he and Gall "displayed excellent teamwork."
Other awards included Department Letter of Commendations for officers who had rescued a carjack victim -- whose hands and feet were tied with telephone cords and who had been stabbed several times in the right shoulder -- from the back of his own car; for officers who found a suicidal man with a knife trying to cut his wrists over his father's grave and took him to the hospital; and for an officer who shut down a day-care provider who confessed to abusing a 19-month-old child.