- The Washington Times - Saturday, July 7, 2001

The Washington Field Office of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) is no stranger to working with local and federal police agencies.
Most recently NCIS, the criminal investigation arm of the U.S. Navy, is working with Prince George's County police on a high-profile homicide case that revealed an organized crime ring in Fort Washington.
The NCIS was investigating the disappearance of Navy Petty Officer Lea Anne Brown, as a missing persons case when Prince George's police found her body and that of her boyfriend, Michael Patten, June 12 in Accokeek.
When the connection between the two cases was made, Prince George's police immediately contacted NCIS Special Agent Frank O'Donnell.
"We had as many as 30 to 35 agents working on the case from day one when for us, it was a missing persons case," said Mr. O'Donnell, who led the NCIS aspect of the investigation.
The NCIS, has a global jurisdiction with 915 agents in 13 field offices around the world. More than half of all its cases are done in collaboration with another law enforcement agency, said NCIS spokesman Paul O'Donnell, who is not related to Frank O'Donnell.
"We would not usually have 35 agents working on one case, but with this case, because of the heinous nature of the crime and our outrage, we wanted to devote as much manpower as we could," said Albert W. Billington, special agent in charge of the Washington field office.
Petty Officer Brown, 24, was listed as a missing June 11 after her commanding officer called NCIS to report the young woman had missed checks and had not shown up for work.
The next day a Prince George's County detective called Frank O'Donnell, who was heading up the missing persons investigation, to tell him police may have found her body and a man's body.
Prince George's police moved quickly on the case, Mr. Billington said, and with the help of NCIS computer experts were able to track credit- and debit-card usage, and conduct surveillance and searches of the suspects' and the victims' homes.
On June 27, Prince George's police arrested five men in connection with the killings. Marco Scutchings, 18; Robert Odum Jr., 23; Cortez Carroll, 22; Eric Thomas, 22; and Aaron Hollingsworth, 18, await preliminary hearings scheduled for July 26 and 27.
The five men beat the couple and stuffed them in the trunk after a botched carjacking, according to police reports. The two later were shot execution-style and their bodies left in Accokeek, police said.
Twenty members of the NCIS investigation team are still working on processing evidence through forensics, conducting surveillance and interviews and searching residences.

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