Thursday, March 20, 2003

Woman slain in apartment on quiet street in Covedale



By Jane Prendergast
The Cincinnati Enquirer

[photo] A Cincinnati Police criminalist enters the front door of an apartment building on Clevesdale Drive in Covedale where a woman was slain Wednesday.
(Michael Snyder photo)
| ZOOM |
A Covedale resident saw a frightening thing Wednesday: A man barged into a neighbor's apartment, told the elderly woman inside to be quiet and ordered her to lie on the floor.

Minutes later, the neighbor was dead. Police had little to go on, other than what the 911 caller saw - a 6-foot-tall, thin black man wearing a white T-shirt, baseball hat and green pants. He walked away from the apartment building with a white plastic bag in his hand.

The killing - the city's 17th homicide so far this year - happened in a neighborhood tucked back off Guerley Road. Clevesdale Drive, lined with brick homes and four-plex buildings, isn't home to much crime.

Police spokesman Lt. Kurt Byrd, on the force more than 20 years and formerly a supervisor on the west side, put it this way: "This is probably the first time I've ever been on this street."

Yet just before 2:15 p.m. Wednesday, a neighbor called police to say a man had entered the apartment and ordered the resident to be quiet and to get on the floor. The caller said the man was still inside. The caller was afraid, according to the dispatch report, staying on the phone insisting police check the apartment.

Officers did; they called for a canine to search, and for homicide.

They didn't immediately divulge the name of the dead woman, saying all of her family had not been notified. About a dozen family members and friends gathered two doors down, hugging each other and crying.

Neighbors came home from work to find their street blocked off with crime-scene tape. One woman asked police if she should stop letting her 12-year-old son walk home from school by himself.

Emergency medical technicians came to help one distraught relative. Police called a clergyman to help the family.

At one point, Officer Robert Rosey said his dog, Jarro, had a strong track near Clevesdale and Hilfred Lane, but they did not find anyone.

E-mail jprendergast@enquirer.com




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