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September 30, 2010

Parents of slain teen threaten lawsuit

The parents of 16-year-old Annie McCann, who was found dead nearly two years ago in Southeast Baltimore, are threatening to sue the city for up to $12 million, alleging police shelved the investigation and wrongfully concluded that the girl took her own life.

Dan and Mary Jane McCann have been fighting the city since their daughter mysteriously ran away from their Fairfax County, Va., home on Nov. 2. She left a letter that police concluded was a suicide note. But her parents note she wrote that that she thought about killing herself but had changed her mind and decided to run away.

How she ended up dead behind a trash bin in Southeast Baltimore had remained a mystery for nearly two years, and the McCanns have relentlessly pursued detectives and other authorities to do what they consider a proper investigation.

Find more stories on Annie McCann here.

The Medical Examiner ruled the cause of Annie's death undetermined but said she ingested a lethal dose of lidocaine from drinking from a 5-ounce bottle of Bactine. Police have suspended the case, saying the evidence points to suicide.

With the help of private investigators, the McCanns say they have unearthed many clues that have yet to be answered. They include:

A mysterious text that Annie got on her cell phone days before she disappeared from a convicted drug dealer in Northern Virginia.

A still mysterious woman that a waitress says she saw with Annie at a Little Italy pastry shop one or two days before her body was found.

The McCanns pressed police to charge two juveniles and one adult using Annie's car and driving it to a gas station five blocks away. One of the teens admitted to removing Annie's body from the car and putting near the trash bin. The juveniles were found responsible for the unauthorized use of the car; charges were dropped against the adult. The McCanns do not believe the youths had anything to do with the death.

These are just a few of the inconsistencies the family says they want resolved.

"The mayors and deputy mayor have been miserably disengaged from their sworn, paid duty to oversee the Baltimore Police Department," Dan McCann said in a statement, which concluded: "We will never stop looking for the killer of our daughter. When will the City of Baltimore start?"

Baltimore police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi responded: "We stand behind the homicide investigators. It is an extremely horrific and tragic situation. We can never imagine the amount of grief that this family is going through, but the evidence is pretty overwhelming that this is not a homicide."
Read the McCann's full statement:

Fax 000000672

Comments

It's hard, but give it a rest your daughter should not have been in Baltimore it's a dangerous place for a 16 year old. Police are not trying to create homicides cause of a theory.

Dear Mrs. McCann,

Please refrain making the City of Baltimore waste my taxpayer money to fight your lawsuit. Maybe the City could use that money to restore trash collection or provide better transportation. If you want to extract retribution, maybe you can raise private funds. I'm sure there are any number of sympathetic, wealthy people in Northern Virginia.

If your mysterious woman has shown up in Northern Virginia as well as Baltimore, why whould this be a City case anyway? It should be a federal case.

um daughter killed herself with her life style if nothing else. bad parenting does not constitute a 12 million dollar law suit. oh forgot or pay $3000 for some damge to your car.

I am appalled at the cold and callous comments on here. You folks seem more concerned about saving a dollar than getting to the truth. Have we quickly forgotten how Baltimore City Police didn't have time (or interest) in dealing with rape victims so they classified them differently to lessen their workload? I agree a 16 year old girl should not have been in that neighborhood, but isn't that part of our problem in the city? We shouldn't be fearful to be in any section of the city – let’s deal with the root problem here. I'm sure her parents want some closure and justice, just as you would expect if your child was found dead behind a dumpster in northern Virginia. I am certain you would not sit back and say I'll let it go because my Baltimore city child died in Virginia so I'll save those taxpayers some money. The investigation takes place where the death occurred, so Baltimore City has an obligation. Just reading some of these heartless comments make me realize why our City is in the shape it's in...to think we can brush this aside because she wasn't from the area is disheartening and downright mean spirited.

The Baltimore police department is pathetic, actually the city is pathetic. I agree with the parents, there is no way she had all that lidocaine from Bactine. A killer took advantage of her, drugged her and intended on sexually abusing her, and when she died from overdose he had to get rid of her. Dr.Baden is probably the best pathologist in the world. I understand that the police might not always find a suspect in a murder, but atleast look. Baltimore police are jaded to things like this, and frankly probably don't want to even be in Baltimore. Who would, it is a cest pool and should just be demolished and started over.

While I'm certainly sorry for the loss of their daughter, neither the millions of dollars being sought nor the conviction of any guilty parties will bring her back. Rather than push this into the already over-burdened court system, the suggestion of raising private funds to increase the reward or lure investigators seems much more reasonable.

i can not believe the person w the bad parenting comment. often bad parents produce great children and good ones have children w lots of problems. wonder if this person has any children their self. and are they soooo perfect. perhaps they just hid their "indiscretions" from their parents. these people have invested much for 18 months---unlike people who immediately seek to sue. seems they are using this route to get more then like any concerned, at the end of other options. parents would do. God help you.

Annie's parents do not want millions. They have been more than patient waiting for the Baltimore police to investigate their daughter's murder. It is shameful that they have to file the lawsuit in order to get Annie's death investigated and SOLVED. Annie deserves justice!

This is a terrible story but I think the Police actually did their job on this one. I don't ever see Bactine bottles strayed in alleys or anywhere.
Maybe you the parents should look within to figure where you went wrong. Your daughter was a young woman but you kept her down and now wanna sue Baltimore City with a bogus claim.Shame on you. You SHOULD SUE the Fairfax County Police for not ordering an Amber alert! I wonder who is your scumball lawyer?
Did the Goldmans or Browns sue LAPD for negligance not convicting OJ? NO. So where does your case have any leg to stand on?

Annie's parents should not have file a lawsuit to force Baltimore Police to investigate her murder.

Oh $3000, I hope you never have children. You are the worst kind of human. (And I used the term human loosely.)

Annie's parents are trying to over burden the poor Baltimore police department, what want justice for Annie. They want her murderer off the street. Any parent would.

I really feel the parents’ pain and I can identify with their frustration with the BCPD. When my son was beaten and left for dead on a street in Hampden a few years ago, the police filed a report of an "injured person" and just let it go, instead of calling it what it was: Aggravated Assault (which is a felony)

The police did not even investigate this as a crime until they were "made"to by the district commander, and then did a really poor job which meant the least possible investigation. The Sgt in charge in that sector told me it was just a civil case because there were no witnesses and there was no weapon. Obviously he did not know the law on this issue. When I pointed out that that was not true -fists are considered weapons - he basically just brushed that off. I went door to door and was able to locate a witness after the police failed to investigate anything. I found someone who witnessed the assault and was eager to testify against them until he had his tires slashed and he and his family was threatened. This was all reported to the police who did nothing. The detective I contacted eventually told me that one of the suspects was dealing drugs and they were watching him from that angle which implied that this type of assault was not as important as the eventual drug case they were developing.

My son eventually recovered after suffering severe eye trauma, concussion and a broken nose, but the whole thing including the trial of 2 perpetrators was a total fiasco. The one defendant’s attorney was a college classmate of my son's which seemed to me to be a complete conflict of interest. The Asst. State’s Attorney on the case did not think it was “that” bad and did not object.

The parents in this case must be vigilant and constantly push to get this one solved. They are doing what they have to to get to the bottom of this terrible crime.

Suing the city is pointless. That money is not going to come out of the police officers' pockets. It's going to come out of mine.

And last time that I checked, I didn't do anything wrong, but I'm the one who gets punished as a taxpayer. The parents aren't hurting the police here. They're hurting random taxpayers who had nothing to do with this.

What exactly are they going to sue the police for? There's no tort called "I'm suing the police for not investigating to a grieving parent's satisfaction the probable suicide of their daughter." Her parents obviously feel guilty that they didn't deal with her issues that caused her to threaten suicide and run away, and now they are projecting it onto the police department and trying to make a grab for millions out of it. Their daughter is dead, and they want an explanation other than suicide because they will probably feel less responsible if they can blame someone else.

Clues! What damn clues? Every "not so street savvy" drug user has some drug dealer's number.Think about it. That's how they get their drugs. Some lady saw her talking to somebody in a pastry shop! Think about it. How many of us strike up conversations with "strangers" in the grocery store, Starbucks, on the train or wherever. My wife is notorious for it. Both so called clues mean nothing. Unfortunately, her ending is tragic but the circumstances are far too common to me. In the city I come across a lot of depressed young girls (particularly caucasian)who have run away from homes in places like Westminster, Ellicott City, York, PA., Rockville, etc. When I ask them about their parents 95% of them respond with "they don't care". They would rather live in the streets than go back home to their parents. Her parents can blame the city, the police, society and everything else but themselves and sue whatever they want. They won't get a dime. Their failure to deal with the problems at home is what lead their daughter to the streets looking for love, acceptance and whatever else. God bless her soul.

They aren't spending your tax dollars for investigating, if you could read, you would see that the police dept didn't properly follow up on clues. Perhaps their mind was in the same place yours were (BG AND OTHERS) like their pockets, when they should have solved this case. Her parents have hired the private investigators and paid for this out of their pockets, not yours. If it were your daughter, you would want the case solved so that it doesn't happen to someone elses daughter. As selfish as you ppl are I pray you don't reproduce!!

The whole problem is there was never was an investigation. The amount of lidocaine in Annie's system could not have come from 5 bottle of bactine??? Where did it come from? Why not investigate the strange text message prior to her disappearance? I mean Annie's parents want nothing more than the police to do their job and follow simple leads.

Annie's parents do want money. Annie's life is worth a lot more than any amount. Life is priceless. The lawsuit is the only way that they can get Baltimore police department to do their job!

To Jeff Davis: LAPD did investigate OJ. They found evidence and put OJ on trial. That is all Annie's parents want the police to do - their job too.

I knew Annie. Her parents are the most caring and loving people. Annie was the child every parent wished to have. Annie was a teenager and someone took advantage of Annie's caring and loving personality. That person is responsible for her MURDER!

I also knew Annie. I've known Annie's family since Annie was in kindergarten.
This family is one of the most loving, accepting and understanding families that I have had the opportunity to meet. They is no malicious intent in their current actions. The McCann's want answers. They want closure. They want to know how and why their precious girl left this life the way she did. The McCann's are not suing simply to receive financial gains from the atrocity that has come of Annie's investigation. Annie's parents have stated publicly that if they win their case, they will increase the reward for information about Annie by millions. The McCann family, just like my own family and those in our community believe without a doubt that someone else played a role in Annie's death. We don't know what role necessarily but there are far too many inconsistencies in the case, in the "evidence," for us to believe that things happened as the police claim.

I have been following the articles about Annie since I received that phone call informing me that Annie had been found dead. For almost two years I have regularly read the newspaper articles printed and each time a new article comes out I have become more and more disheartened to read the insensitive comments that people feel the need to post. I question how hastily these people develop their opinions before they make the decision to harangue the McCann family. Anyone who has put in any effort to follow this case would know about the inconsistencies and would understand why the McCanns feel so strongly about their efforts to gain more answers. Anyone who bothers to read just a handful of other articles- printed on this very website- would know that the private investigator hired by the McCanns has brought to light a significant amount of questionable information regarding the lack of investigation that has occurred as well as they questionable information regarding the Bactine.
Jeff Davis, you stated, "I don't ever see Bactine bottles strayed in alleys or anywhere." The Bactine was not just some random bottle that Annie found and chose to ingest. The bottle was given to Annie by her mother to maintain her newly pierced ears. This information has been stated a number of times in a number of articles. As is the fact that there were NO prints found on the bottle. If Annie had ingested the contents of the bottle- why would she have bothered to wipe off her own prints? And the Bayer company which produces Bactine has publicly and officially stated that a 5oz bottle does not have enough Lidocaine to be fatal- so how did she die just from that bottle? These questions need to be answered- as do the questions concerning the strange text messages on Annie's phone and the identity of the woman seen in the pastry shop- who may have more information.
The McCann family just want's answers. We all just want Answers. Answers, for Annie.
There is no need to add more evil and cruelty to a case as ugly as Annie's investigation has already become.

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About Peter Hermann
Peter Hermann started covering news for The Baltimore Sun in 1990, first in Anne Arundel County and, starting in 1994, reporting on the Baltimore Police Department. In 2001, he was assigned to Jerusalem as the Baltimore Sun's Middle East correspondent. He returned in 2005 as an assistant city editor overseeing crime coverage. In 2008, Peter returned to the beat as a daily reporter and blogger. A recent BBC report featured him in a segment on the harsh realities of covering crime in Baltimore.

Coverage will focus on crime trends, problems in neighborhoods in the city and elsewhere, profiles of victims and police officers and try to offer readers a fresh perspective on one of the most vexing issues facing Baltimore and its future.



Contributing to this blog is Justin Fenton, who joined The Sun in 2005 and has covered the Baltimore City Police Department and the criminal justice system since 2008. His work includes an investigation into Cal Ripken Jr.’s minor league baseball stadium deal with his hometown of Aberdeen, a three-part series chronicling a ruthless con woman, coverage of the killing of five Amish children at a schoolhouse in Nickel Mines, Pa., and a job swap with a British crime reporter to explore differences in crime-fighting. A special report looking into how city police handle rape cases led to sweeping reforms that changed the way sexual assaults are investigated in Baltimore. He was recognized as the best reporter in Baltimore by the City Paper in 2010 and by Baltimore Magazine in 2011.
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