A Maryland husband has been charged with murdering his wife, less than a week after he initially told police she walked out of their home and disappeared without a trace.
Middletown resident Thomas Lehan, 37 is charged with first-degree murder in the death of his wife, Kathleen “Katie” Lehan, 34, also of Middletown, the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office announced in a statement on Thursday. He is accused of strangling his wife, then stuffing her body into a cardboard box and dumping it in a wooded river bed area, according to local outlet WJLA.
Thomas reported his wife’s disappearance to police Sunday evening, telling officials his wife went out for a walk earlier in the day and did not return home. He claimed he got in his car and started searching for his wife before contacting authorities.
However “several inconsistencies” were found in Thomas’ initial statements to police, the sheriff’s office said in its statement.
“Thomas did not call or text Katie to inquire about her whereabouts,” court documents highlight, according to WJLA. “Detectives questioned why Thomas would search for Katie, who was not a hiker, in a remote mountainous area. Thomas could not provide an answer as to why he would have gone there.”
Eventually, “further investigations and information obtained today [Thursday] eventually resulted in Thomas Lehan providing investigators with Katie’s location,” sheriff’s officials said in their statement.
Thomas Lehan also allegedly confessed to his father-in-law and told him he strangled Katie on Thursday, WJLA reported.
An autopsy is being performed to determine Katie’s exact cause and manner of death, authorities said.
Investigators have not yet disclosed a potential motive.
“We want to thank all of our friends, family and loved ones. The community has wrapped their arms around us. We appreciate all of the support. At this time we would like to ask for privacy as we navigate this news,” Katie’s family said in a statement released by the sheriff’s office.
The sheriff’s office was supported in the investigation by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Police, Maryland State Police, Homeland Security Investigations, Frederick Police Department, the Frederick County State’s Attorney’s Office, as well as Customs and Border Patrol.
Anyone with further information is asked to contact Detective Leveille at 301-600- 1046. Tips can also be left anonymously at 301-600-4131.
Thomas Lehan is being held without bond at the Frederick County Adult Detention Center. It’s unclear if he has a lawyer who can speak on his behalf.
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