- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 23, 2006

DNA evidence led investigators to a suspect in the 2003 killings of two elderly women in a Suitland flower shop, Prince George’s County authorities announced yesterday.

Adam I. Neal, 24, who is in the Fairfax County jail on a parole violation, is expected to be charged with two counts of second-degree murder in the stabbing deaths of Mary Francis McDonald, 76, and Madeline Lovelace Thompson, 73, who were killed Sept. 24, 2003, inside the Suitland Florist Shop, which Miss McDonald owned.

A Ford Escape belonging to one of the victims was found a short time later and provided the DNA evidence.

While the DNA evidence was discovered in the vehicle during an initial investigation, a match was not made by the FBI until Feb. 15. A day later, Prince George’s police obtained a warrant seeking Neal’s arrest in the case.

Detectives who have the case for nearly three years are continuing their investigation. They are hoping tips from the public will help wrap up the case.

“We are going to pursue whether there are other suspects involved,” said Maj. Daniel Dusseau of the Prince George’s County Police Department’s Criminal Investigations Division.

Neal — who has used addresses in Prince George’s County, the District and Virginia — has a long criminal history. It includes arrests or convictions for assault and battery, vehicle theft, property and drug-related crimes and traffic offenses.

Virginia maintains a DNA database of individuals convicted of felonies that occurred in the state.

While police recovered a T-shirt bearing a slogan linked to Potomac High School’s 2003 graduating class, they declined to discuss whether that shirt belonged to Neal.

“This is a real relief for everybody,” said Elsie Jacobs, president of the Suitland Civic Association.

The two victims were loved and respected members of the community, praised for their work at the florist shop, Miss Jacobs said.

She also expressed optimism that increased cooperation among residents, business owners and police is helping to reduce violent crime in the county and leading to more arrests and convictions.

“We won’t give up on any of these cases,” Police Chief Melvin C. High said.

Prince George’s saw a record 173 homicides in 2005. Since Jan. 1 there have been 17 homicides in the county, compared with 26 in the same period a year ago.

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