Police in New York have arrested an Anne Arundel County man in connection with the murder of a Frederick businessman whose body was found in the trunk of his car near Gaithersburg last December.
Michael A. Stahlnecker, 51, of Crofton was arrested Tuesday at JFK International Airport for the murder of John P. Ryan, 37, according to Maryland State Police.
Stahlnecker is being held on a fugitive warrant in New York, but a warrant filed in Anne Arundel County District Court charges him with first- and second-degree murder, first- and second-degree assault, reckless endangerment and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony, state police said.
The extradition process to return Stahlnecker to Maryland has begun, but it’s unknown when he’ll be brought back, state police spokesman Greg Shipley said Tuesday.
Stahlnecker was arrested just before 6 a.m. Tuesday by New York/New Jersey Port Authority Police, special agents from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations department and members of the U.S. Marshals Service as he prepared to board a flight.
Detectives from the Maryland State Police Homicide Unit, the state police apprehension team and the Frederick County Narcotics Task Force were also with the agents when the arrest was made.
Police believe Stahlnecker was headed out of the country, but didn’t know Tuesday where he was going, Shipley said.
Ryan’s body was found Dec. 3 in the trunk of his 2007 Lexus, which was parked in the 15000 block of Somerville Drive in Derwood, along with an undisclosed amount of cash and about a pound of marijuana, police have said.
At the time, a spokesman for the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Baltimore said Ryan had died from two gunshot wounds to the head.
Ryan had worked in the property-maintenance business, traveling through the Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C., region for his work, police said.
His wife had reported him missing to Frederick police on Nov. 29, triggering a police search.
Since July, members of the narcotics task force had been investigating Ryan’s alleged involvement in importing and dealing marijuana, according to Shipley. That investigation identified Stahlnecker as an associate of Ryan’s in the business, he said.
State police homicide investigators believe Ryan had driven to a warehouse leased by Stahlnecker in the 3300 block of Laurel Fort Meade Road in Laurel for a meeting on Nov. 28.
Investigators serving a search warrant at the warehouse found Ryan’s blood near the rear loading dock and on the bristles of a broom outside the rear of the business, a police news release said.
Investigators believe Ryan was shot at the warehouse and his car was driven to the parking lot in Derwood, where it was found by police, the release said.
No motive has been determined, but detectives believe Stahlnecker owed large amounts of money to several people, the release said.
The investigation into Ryan’s death is continuing.
A search of court records revealed a 1997 battery charge against Stahlnecker, which was later dropped by prosecutors.
No lawyer was listed Tuesday to represent him in the murder case.