- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
Three days into the investigation of Moneta Jo Strickland’s death, witnesses came forward with descriptions of a man on the Three Notch Trail, and a business’ video also helped lead to an arrest in the case, St. Mary’s detectives report in charging papers.
A judge ordered Wednesday that John Morris Quade Jr., 31, of Lexington Park remain in jail without bond on charges including first-degree murder for the crime that detectives believe occurred Thursday, Aug. 8, at the trail in Laurel Grove.
Strickland went to the trail earlier that day to jog, court papers state, and she was reported missing the next day by relatives and friends. Her car was found at John V. Baggett Park, detectives report, and a search led to the discovery of her body near the trail at about 3:30 p.m. last Friday.
After his arrest on Tuesday, court papers state, Quade told police that he passed out during a confrontation with the woman and “stated he did not remember exactly what happened to her.”
“Then he found the victim dead,” according to charging papers describing Quade’s account to police. The court documents allege that Quade admitted stealing her cellphone and disposing of a blood-stained rock.
“He stated he was bloody after the confrontation, [and] it was not his blood,” according to a statement of probable cause filed by Maryland State Police Trooper Michael Parker, assigned to the St. Mary’s Bureau of Criminal Investigations.
During the investigation, court papers state, a witness told detectives on Monday that he had seen Strickland on the trail on Thursday of last week, along with a person who police determined fit a description of Quade. A surveillance video from a nearby business showed a person matching Quade’s description driving a silver car in the area, court papers state, of the same model driven by Quade.
At a candlelight vigil for Strickland on Wednesday evening, held on a small field at Chancellor’s Run Regional Park near Great Mills, Frances Chase, 60, of Loveville area told the audience that her family members sometimes call her “nosy,” but that this time it was a helpful attribute.
“I’m one of the ones that called the police,” she said. “I was [in the area going] through that morning, and I saw the guy standing there. So my nosiness paid off.”
Responses of “amen” were heard among the audience at the vigil, along with similar affirmations when speakers credited police for their response to Strickland’s death.
Chase later said that when she called the St. Mary’s sheriff’s office on Monday, “they said every little bit helps.”
Detectives expressed their thanks this week to the agencies who helped in the investigation, along with the citizens who provided assistance.
Evidence in the case was located during a raid, court papers state, but detectives declined to state this week whether the rock has been found.
In court on Wednesday, Quade declined through a public defender to seek a bond hearing in his case.
Online court records state that Quade was sentenced in 2000 to serve 18 months in jail on a charge of committing a third-degree sexual offense.
The father of an 8-year-old girl told police that he forced open a door to a room in Oraville where he found his daughter with Quade, in February of that year, and that she alleged that Quade had been abusing her for more than a year, according to initial district court charging papers filed in the case.
Quade also was jailed for one day in 2010, online court records state, for failing, as a registered sexual offender, to notify authorities of a change of his address.