The Washington Post

Annie McCann death case takes more odd turns

Annie McCann was a 16-year-old junior at West Potomac High School when she died in 2008. Her mother, Mary Jane Malinchak-McCann (left), and father Daniel McCann have fought tirelessly to find out how, and why. (FAMILY PHOTO)

On Halloween in 2008, McCann ran away from home with $1,000 cash, clothes and jewelry. Two days later, her body was discovered outside a Baltimore housing project. With no external trauma, the only manner of death the medical examiner could find was a fatal amount of lidocaine in her system, supposedly ingested by drinking the antiseptic Bactine. The Baltimore police classified the death a suicide, and McCann’s parents, Daniel McCann and Mary Jane Malinchak-McCann were baffled.

Complicating matters, McCann’s car was found a few blocks away, and Baltimore police eventually tracked down the people who stole it. The young thieves claimed that when they found the car, McCann--who had been a student at West Potomac High School--was already dead. They said they dumped her body and took the car for a joy ride. Horrible, but not murder, the police said.

McCann’s parents, who live in the Alexandria section of Fairfax County, have long felt that those suspects haven’t been investigated hard enough. Death by drinking Bactine, they say, is both implausible and scientifically impossible. Renowned forensic pathologist Michael Baden backs them on the science.

Now one of the suspects in the theft of McCann’s car, Darnell Kinlaw, 21, has confessed to killing another woman last month and stealing her car, the Baltimore Sun reports. Another suspect, Bryant Woodley, was released from juvenile jail last week, over the McCanns’ vigorous objections, after serving time for stealing McCann’s car.

The McCanns want the police to press Kinlaw for more, now that he’s facing a first-degree murder charge. “We think,” the McCanns said in a statement, that Kinlaw and his lawyer “will be eager to give police and prosecutors any information that might lower the charges against Kinlaw. They might tell what actually happened with our daughter that night.”

Students at West Potomac High School paint the 'rock' in front of the school as a memorial to Annie McCann, in what would have been her senior year. (SUSAN BIDDLE/FOR THE WASHINGTON POST)

The McCanns went to Baltimore City juvenile court last week, seeking to have Woodley kept in jail “until such time as he provides authorities with a clear and full and reliable account of what he knows happened that night, with our car and with our daughter,” Daniel McCann told the court. But Woodley was released.

Officials in the Baltimore state’s attorney’s office declined comment. But the McCanns said in a statement, “This matter is not going away. The stakes seem to be getting higher.”

Here’s a more in-depth look at the case, from 2009.

Tom Jackman is a native of Northern Virginia and has been covering the region for The Post since 1998.


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