Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Maryland's Mother-Daughter Killings

Neighborhood Witnesses

Frederick Colvin, staying with his mother at her home near the address at which the burning Nissan had been found, told reporters for Fox News as well as the police that he had been awakened by a loud noise on the night of the fire.

"I just heard booms, like maybe thunder from far off," Colvin said. "And then we just came to the window and looked and saw lots of police cars..."

Another neighbor, Jerome Jones, said that his wife thought she had heard gunshots.

"She heard some noise, some shooting noises," Jones said.  "Pow, pow... basically that's all she heard." Jones said that when he saw the car, it was all burned up, "nothing but ashes."

In the meantime, according to Chief Hylton, investigators were exploring the possibility that the bodies in the burned-out car were those of another mother and daughter, who had been reported missing only a few hours earlier. In looking at a number of missing-person reports, detectives were also considering the possibility that the bodies might be those of two teenage girls from Anne Arundel County who had disappeared earlier in the month. Before the case could advance, they knew they first needed to positively identify the two bodies found in the car.

Dolores (left) and Ebony Dewitt
Dolores (left) and Ebony Dewitt

It turned out that a young woman, Courtney Hicks, 17, had arrived at the Largo Metro station a few hours earlier, on Sunday, March 15, 2009, just after 10:00 p.m., after spending the weekend with friends. She sent her mother, Delores Dewitt, 42, a text message asking for a ride home, but there was no response. After making her way on foot to her house, located in the 9700 block of Cedarhollow Lane, she found that her mother and her sister, Ebony Dewitt, 19, were not at home, although it seemed from all appearances that they should have been. The lights were on inside the house, Ebony's jacket was near the door, and her mother's car was in the driveway — yet neither were anywhere to be found. When she called out to them, no one responded. She checked their rooms, then left the house and began calling their cell phones. At one point Courtney asked neighbors if they had seen her mother and sister, but no one had. As a result, Courtney reported her mother and sister missing to the police.

"I thought for sure something had gone wrong," said Hicks, a college student. "But I never thought in a million years that it would be the outcome that it was."

The police later found a witness, Ebony's boyfriend, who said that he had dropped Ebony off at her home at about 1:30 a.m. Sunday. Apparently, the boyfriend was the last person to have seen either of the missing women. The boyfriend was not named as a suspect.


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