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Monday, June 6, 2011

Bodies Identified as Wynetta Wright and Daughter Jaylin; DC Officer Charged in Woman's Death

Sulaiman Kamal | 1:16 PM | | | | | | | | | | | Best Blogger Tips

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HILLCREST HEIGHTS, Md. - A District of Columbia police officer was charged Friday in the death of a woman whose body was found along with that of her 1-year-old daughter in what authorities are calling a case of domestic violence.
Richmond Phillips was charged Friday with one count of first-degree murder and was being held without bond, said Gary Cunningham, a deputy Prince George's County police chief
Phillips was arrested Friday after police found the body of 20-year-old Wynetta Wright. She was found Thursday evening lying in the Oxon Run Stream Valley Park with what Cunningham said was obvious trauma on her body. Her daughter, Jaylin, was later found dead in a car seat in Wright's nearby car and may have died as a result of exposure to the heat, Cunningham said.
The two had been reported missing to the Baltimore County police department on Tuesday by Wright's mother.
Phillips, 39, of Temple Hills, Md., was arrested after he came to a police station and made statements, though Cunningham would not say what he said or whether he had confessed. It was not immediately clear whether he had an attorney, and the voicemail for his home phone number did not appear to be set up to receive messages.
"It's a tragic incident, obviously. We would hope that no one would have to endure this type of incident," Cunningham said.
Cunningham would not comment on the relationship between Phillips and Wright or discuss a motive. But Maryland court records show that the two were in a paternity dispute and a court hearing had been scheduled in Prince George's County for this past Tuesday. Wright's mother told reporters at the scene Thursday night that Phillips called her daughter the night before the hearing and asked to meet with her in Prince George's County. She said she became concerned after she did not hear again from her daughter.
Cunningham said he did not know if Phillips was the baby's father.
Phillips had worked for the D.C. police department since 2003 and had been assigned to the vice unit, which deals with street-level drug deals and other crimes, in the department's First District. The recently retired commander of that district, David Kamperin, said Friday that Phillips did not stand out and that there was nothing especially memorable about his performance.
"He didn't really rise to any level. He didn't seem to be a discipline issue. He was kind of like a status-quo employee in the vice unit," Kamperin said.
D.C. police spokeswoman Gwendolyn Crump said that Phillips' "police powers have been revoked," but did not elaborate.
Autopsies were being performed Friday to determine the cause of the deaths.
"This is a horrific crime, and our deepest sympathies go out to the Wright family," D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier said in a written statement. "As we have seen all too often, domestic violence has its impact on the most innocent victims."

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