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Keyword: cold case

Sarah Jane Forrester in 1999Sarah Jane Forrester was just 13-years-old in 1999 when children discovered her body in a wooded area behind Belmont Park Apartments in Woodlawn.

It was May 12, 1999 at 9:34 a.m. when officers were called to the area adjacent to the parking lot in front of 7 Kafern Drive, 21207. The body, partially decomposed, was transported to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for autopsy where it was positively identified as Sarah Jane Forester. Her death was ruled a homicide by traumatic injury to the body.

Sarah Forrester had been reported missing from a group home on Bloomsbury Avenue, 21228 on February 20, 1999. She was reportedly last seen on or around April 28, 1999, in the Edgewater Village area of Harford County.

Detectives from the Baltimore County Police Homicide Unit continue to investigate the murder of Sarah Jane Forrester. If you have any information about her disappearance or murder, contact detectives by calling 410-307-2020. Callers may remain anonymous and may be eligible for a reward when submitting tips through Metro Crime Stoppers.

Information on this unsolved homicide case and others can be found online.

Reward Offered

Metro Crime Stoppers of Maryland, an organization that is separate from the Baltimore County Police Department and Baltimore County Government, offers rewards of up to $2000 for information that leads to the arrest and charges in connection with felony offenses.

Anonymous tips can be sent to Metro Crime Stoppers by phone, online or via mobile app.

Phone: 1-866-7LOCKUP

Text: “MCS (include tip)” to CRIMES (274637)

Web tip: www.metrocrimestoppers.org

Mobile App: P3TIPS

UPDATE (May 6, 2019 2:58 p.m.):

More than 33 years after the murder of Karen Ann Norton during what was believed to be a burglary at the time, a Grand Jury has indicted her then-husband, John Joseph Norton, on first degree murder charges.

Booking photo of John Joseph NortonThe case went cold following the initial investigation into her murder in her home in the 100 block of Delrey Avenue in Catonsville on December 17, 1985. Karen Norton was just 23-years-old when she suffered a fatal stab wound to the upper body shortly after returning home from work that evening.  

The initial investigation led police to believe that she was killed by an unknown suspect during a burglary, but as the case has continued to be worked by detectives through the years they began to narrow in on her husband, John Norton, as the primary suspect. Recent developments in the case have uncovered new evidence that further supported that theory, and the case was brought before the Grand Jury on Wednesday, May 1. After hearing the evidence, an indictment was issued and detectives served Norton with a warrant for his arrest that evening. 

Norton now remains held without bail at the Baltimore County Detention Center pending trial.

Visit the Baltimore County Unsolved Homicide Cases page on our website for information regarding other cold cases.

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Original Unsolved Homicide Release:

On December 17, 1985, Karen Ann Norton was murdered in her home in the 100 block of Delrey Avenue 21228. She had just arrived home from work at approximately 6:45 p.m. when she was attacked and killed.

Mrs. Norton, a newlywed at the time, worked at JCPenney in Security Square Mall. Although there was evidence of a breaking and entering, police believe this was staged to thwart the homicide investigation.

Reward Offered

Metro Crime Stoppers, an organization that is separate from the Baltimore County Police Department and Baltimore County Government, offers rewards for information in connection with felony offenses. Anonymous tips can be sent to Metro Crime Stoppers by phone, text message or online.

Phone: 1-866-7LOCKUP

Text message: Text "MCS" plus your message to "CRIMES" (274637)

Web tip: www.metrocrimestoppers.org

A DNA sample taken from the remains of former priest A. Joseph Maskell does not match DNA from the murder scene of Sister Catherine Ann Cesnik.

The Baltimore County Police Department on Wednesday received results from an accredited laboratory excluding Maskell as a contributor to DNA preserved from the crime scene.

Baltimore County Police detectives, who have been trying to solve the nun’s murder for nearly 50 years, exhumed Maskell’s body on February 28, 2017 to compare Maskell’s DNA to evidence from the crime scene.

A sample of Maskell’s remains was sent to Bode Cellmark Forensics in Lorton, VA for development of a DNA profile. (External analysis of solid evidence for DNA profiling is standard procedure; BCoPD’s in-house laboratory is used only for biological fluids.) This profile was compared with the crime scene evidence.

Maskell is not the first suspect whose DNA has been compared to the crime scene sample. Over the years, BCoPD detectives have developed DNA profiles of about a half-dozen suspects and compared them against the crime scene evidence. None of these suspects’ profiles have matched.

Also, the DNA profile from the crime scene evidence was placed into the FBI’s Combined DNA Index System as soon as it was developed. There have been no matches of the Cesnik crime scene DNA profile with any DNA profile from the national database.

The fact that the DNA profiles of the various suspects have not matched the crime scene evidence does not necessarily exonerate them; it means only that the DNA technology available at this time has not provided evidence of a physical link to the crime scene.

Police Still Seek Leads

Homicide detectives say the negative results from the Maskell DNA profile comparison mean that their best hope for solving the case now lies with people who are still alive and willing to come forward with conclusive information about the murder.

Sister Cesnik’s body was found in a Lansdowne dumping area in January 1970. She was last seen at her Baltimore City apartment just before leaving to run errands in the Edmondson Village area. A fact sheet about the case is available on our web site.

Reward Offered

Metro Crime Stoppers, an organization that is separate from the Baltimore County Police Department and Baltimore County Government, offers rewards for information in connection with felony offenses.

Anonymous tips can be sent to Metro Crime Stoppers by phone, text message or online.

Phone: 1-866-7LOCKUP

Text message: Text "MCS" plus your message to "CRIMES" (274637)

Web tip: www.metrocrimestoppers.org

 
 
Revised June 27, 2017