- The Washington Times - Friday, July 18, 2003

PHILADELPHIA — A body found in a wooded city park is that of a missing Maryland medical student who was slain, police said yesterday.

The victim was identified as Rebecca Park, a fourth-year student at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine from Olney, Inspector William Colarulo said. She was wearing only a jogging bra, sneakers and socks, police said.

Miss Park, 30, had told her boyfriend about 4 p.m. Sunday that she was going running.

Her body was found in Fairmount Park on Thursday. A news report about the missing student prompted a woman to call police and say she had heard a scream in the area, detectives said.

Police soon found the body buried under brush and leaves in a heavily wooded hillside in the park, about 200 feet off the road and less than a mile from Miss Park’s garden apartment, they said.

Miss Park often ran a 2-mile route through the park — past police stables, where she enjoyed watching the horses, Detective Michael Chitwood said.

The boyfriend, also a medical student in Philadelphia, and Miss Park’s father, who lives in Maryland, went to police Wednesday to report Miss Park missing, Detective Chitwood said.

“She’s a fourth-year medical student. She’s a second lieutenant in the Army Reserves. It just had a bad feel to it,” Detective Chitwood said yesterday.

“Her life is very orderly. Everybody describes her as a happy-go-lucky girl,” he said.

The boyfriend, who was not identified, is not a suspect, Detective Chitwood said.

Late yesterday morning, investigators returned to the area, which one officer described as “treacherous” terrain connecting Miss Park’s neighborhood with the park. Police with search dogs scoured the area, looking for other evidence.

Sgt. John Coleman of the department’s K9 unit, who used to be assigned to the area, said it’s not known as a hangout for transients or troublemakers.

Miss Park’s parents had come to the United States years ago from Korea, police said.

Miss Park, who graduated from the University of Maryland, was in the midst of a medical rotation at Lankenau Hospital.

Carol Weisl, a Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine spokeswoman, described Miss Park as an “outstanding individual” and stellar student specializing in radiology.

Detectives and search dogs had scoured her jogging route without success after Miss Park. who was 5-foot-1 and 100 pounds, was reported missing, Detective Chitwood said.

“You know how many girls jog by here at 4 o’clock in the afternoon?” said Ron Jones, a security guard for Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, which is on a road leading to the park entrance.

Mr. Jones said he had sometimes seen Miss Park jogging with her boyfriend.

Miss Park had lived in her brick garden apartment beside the park for about 18 months, said her next-door neighbor, a young physician who did not want to give her name.

The apartments are occupied by a mix of medical students, young families and seniors citizens, he said.

Fairmount Park covers 8,900 acres and includes winding creeks, nature trails, ball fields and picnic areas.

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