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  1. Baltimore County Police have charged a suspect in connection with a Monday night...

    Baltimore County Police have charged a suspect in connection with a Monday night stabbing in Dundalk that left a juvenile deceased.

    http://www.baltimorecountymd.gov/News/PoliceNews/iWatch/StabbinginDundalkLeavesJuvenileDeceased


    2014-08-27T19:40:20+01:00https://www.facebook.com/BaltimoreCountyPoliceandFire/photos/a.597717780238357.1073741828.583947594948709/845044988838967/?type=1
  2. A Tuesday night stabbing in Catonsville has left a man injured. The suspect is i...

    A Tuesday night stabbing in Catonsville has left a man injured. The suspect is in custody.

    http://www.baltimorecountymd.gov/News/PoliceNews/iWatch/StabbinginCatonsvilleLeavesManInjured


    Stabbing in Catonsville Leaves Man Injured
    www.baltimorecountymd.gov
    At 6:28 p.m. Tuesday night, Baltimore County Police responded to the 2000 block of North Norhurst Way 21228 for an assault in progress. When officers arrived on the scene, they found an adult male victim with a single stab wound to the upper body.
    2014-08-27T18:57:06+01:00http://www.facebook.com/BaltimoreCountyPoliceandFire/posts/845030682173731
  3. #BCoPD on the scene of a situation in Lansdowne area. Specialized resources have...

    #BCoPD on the scene of a situation in Lansdowne area. Specialized resources have been requested to ensure the safety of the community.^JW
    2014-08-27T14:13:44+01:00http://www.facebook.com/BaltimoreCountyPoliceandFire/posts/844917738851692
  4. Monday night stabbing in Dundalk leaves juvenile deceased. http://ow.ly/AM0Rg ^JW

    Monday night stabbing in Dundalk leaves juvenile deceased. http://ow.ly/AM0Rg ^JW


    Stabbing in Dundalk Leaves Juvenile Deceased
    www.baltimorecountymd.gov
    At 10:01 p.m. on August 25, Baltimore County Police and Fire personnel responded to the 600 block of North Avondale Road 21222 for a report of a...
    2014-08-27T14:05:44+01:00http://www.facebook.com/BaltimoreCountyPoliceandFire/posts/844913662185433

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Police and Fire News

Baltimore County Police and Fire News

Official News Blog of Baltimore County police, fire, homeland security and emergency management. Call 911 to report crimes in progress and emergencies.
Keyword: murder

Fourteen years after the murder of 24-year-old Heidi Bernadzikowski in her Dundalk townhome, Baltimore County Police homicide detectives have arrested and charged her boyfriend with hiring someone to kill her.

This week, Stephen Michael Cooke Jr., 43, of the 1000 block of Englishman Harbour, Pasadena, 21122, was charged with first-degree murder. He was arrested in Anne Arundel County and is held without bail at the Baltimore County Detention Center.

Police have believed almost from the beginning of this case that Cooke -- who was the victim's boyfriend and lived with her in the 2000 block of Codd Avenue -- conspired to kill Ms. Bernadzikowski, but detectives have been unable to prove his involvement. A breakthrough came recently, when one of the co-conspirators -- Alexander Charles Bennett, 34, of Greeley, Colorado -- identified Cooke as the person behind the murder. Bennett is in the Baltimore County Detention Center, awaiting trial.

Bennett was charged with first-degree murder in January 2012 after police discovered DNA evidence linking him to the crime. The investigation shows that Cooke hired Bennett and another conspirator, Grant A. Lewis, also of Colorado, to kill Bernadzikowski. Cooke wanted to collect a $700,000 insurance policy he had purchased on the victim months earlier, police believe.

Lewis, 35, of the 2500 block of Locust Street, Denver, Co., was arrested in Baltimore this week and is charged with conspiracy to commit murder. He is held without bail at BCDC.

The investigation shows that Cooke contacted Bennett and Lewis via the Internet and entered into a murder-for-hire agreement with them. Lewis was the middle man and remained in Colorado, coordinating Bennett's actions; Bennett traveled to Maryland and committed the murder, strangling Bernadzikowski and cutting her throat.

Homicide detectives do not believe there are any additional suspects in this case.

"We have been seeking justice in this case for a long time," said Police Chief Jim Johnson. "Our Homicide detectives deserve credit for never giving up on these cold cases. They never forget these victims and their families, and they tirelessly pursue leads over many years. This time, their work has paid off."

Photos of Suspects

Stephen Michael Cooke Jr.

Photo of Stephen Michael Cooke Jr., charged in a cold case homicide from 2000.

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

Grant A. Lewis

Photo of Grant A. Lewis, charged in a cold case homicide from 2000.

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

Alexander Charles Bennett

Photo of Alexander Charles Bennett, charged in a cold case homicide from 2000.

Timothy Howard Virts has waived extradition from South Carolina. BCoPD is working with South Carolina authorities on logistics involved with his return; they are uncertain exactly when that will occur.

Virts will be charged upon his return to Maryland with first degree murder in the killing of Bobbie Jo Cortez, found dead Thursday morning in her bedroom in the 3100 block of Ardee Way in Dundalk. Police believe Virts killed Bobbie Jo on Wednesday, some time before 6 p.m. Shortly after 6 a.m. Thursday, police believe, Virts fled with his and Bobbie Jo's 11-year-old daughter, Caitlyn. He and Caitlyn were located Friday evening in a motel in Florence, SC, after a nationwide search.

Homicide detectives flew to South Carolina after Virts' arrest there. Detectives continue to interview Virts, who agreed to talk to them. Details of their conversations are withheld due to the ongoing investigation.

Police continue to explore all aspects of this situation, including Virts' relationships with Bobbie Jo Cortez and their children. (Caitlyn, her twin sister and a 13-year-old brother are believed to have been at the Ardee Way home at the time their mother was killed.)

Caitlyn Virts

Police have been informed by officials at the county's Department of Health and Human Services that Caitlyn returned to Maryland Saturday evening. She was reunited with her siblings, all of whom are in the custody of social services officials.

Caitlyn appears to be unharmed physically. Baltimore County Government will provide all available resources to her and her siblings.

911 Tapes & Arrest Warrant

The 911 tapes for this call are being withheld due to the ongoing investigation.

The arrest warrant charging Timothy Virts with first degree murder is not yet public because it has not been served. Virts will be served with the warrant upon his return to Maryland.

Timothy Howard Virts and Caitlyn Marie Virts have been located in a motel in Florence, South Carolina. Mr. Virts is in police custody and Caitlyn appears to be unharmed.

Investigators believe that the location of the father and daughter resulted directly from the expanded Amber Alert.

The return of Timothy Howard Virts is pending an extradition process. Caitlyn Virts will be returned home as soon as possible. Baltimore County's Department of Social Services has already been put in contact with Social Services officials in South Carolina.

Detectives will travel to South Carolina as soon as possible to continue the investigation.

The Baltimore County Police Department wishes to thank everyone who kept a lookout for Caitlyn, helped spread information about her, and provided the police with tips.

No further information is available at this time.

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