- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Metropolitan Police Department said Tuesday that officers found the dead body of a child in a Northeast apartment building.

Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier said the department received a call at 1:30 p.m. about an unconscious child in a building in the 200 block of Hawaii Avenue Northeast, just north of Catholic University in the Pleasant Hill neighborhood.

Chief Lanier said the 12-year-old child was pronounced dead, but she gave few details on the nature of the death.

“We have nothing that would indicate that there is a threat to the community,” she said.

Police sealed off several blocks of Hawaii Avenue and First Street Northeast while investigated the scene.

Pleasant Hill Civic Association Vice President Albrette “Gigi” Ransom said she was told by police that the victim was a Hispanic girl who had been found fatally stabbed and with a plastic bag over her head.

A neighbor who would not give her name said she heard similar details from a man who had been in the building.

Miss Ransom, a former advisory neighborhood commissioner in the neighborhood, said she was shocked by the crime because she could not remember hearing of a homicide in the area.

“It’s unbelievably quiet,” she said. “It’s my hopes and prayers that the person who did this is caught as soon as possible.”

Other neighbors were equally surprised by the incident and worried for the safety of other neighborhood children.

“I have a lot of female friends over here, and they have little kids running around,” said Duane Little, 49, who lives nearby. “You should show some type of concern when you hear about things like this.”

The D.C. Child and Family Services Agency could not be reached late Tuesday to determine whether officials had ever been called to the residence.

Chief Lanier described the neighborhood as a quiet and safe area of mostly working-class families. She said she began her career there on foot patrol.

David Chapman, of Bowie, used to live in the neighborhood and was visiting his daughter, who still does.

He said the neighborhood was always tightly knit and had little crime, but the incident makes him worried about his two grandchildren.

“It’s safe because the people that live here have been good,” he said. “But you better keep an eye on your kids because things happen.”

Pleasant Hill is part of Advisory Neighborhood Commission 5C, which has had six homicides so far this year, all of which have been south of Catholic University. The ANC had only one homicide at this time last year.

Residents were shaken last year when a homeless man discovered a human skull in a wooded area near Pleasant Hill and was showing it off in the parking lot of a 7-Eleven in the 300 block of Hawaii Avenue. Police later found a body in the woods.

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