Suspicious Fire Deaths - Severn
CID MAJOR CRIMES SECTION
Suspicious Fire Deaths - Severn
On Thursday, December 10, 2015 at approximately 3:40 a.m., members of the Anne Arundel County Fire Department responded for a dwelling fire in the 1200 block of Old Camp Meade Road, Severn, Maryland. This residence was under construction due to a previous fire in February 2015. Once fire officials were able to get the fire under control a deceased human body was discovered on the first floor of the residence. At approximately 6:00 a.m., Anne Arundel County Fire Department personnel requested the assistance of the Anne Arundel County Police Department’s Homicide Unit.
Working in conjunction with the Fire Department/Fire Marshalls Office, and the Anne Arundel County Police Evidence Collection Unit a major scene processing was underway. The white female human remains were recovered and transported to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner located in Baltimore Maryland. Several animal remains were also recovered from the fire scene. The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner performed an autopsy on the unidentified remains as detectives are assisting with obtaining a positive identification.
The fire scene was secured overnight as a further search was needed along with the use of large equipment in order to conduct a further search of the residence in a safe environment. On Friday, December 11, 2015, the Anne Arundel County Fire Department /Fire Marshalls office, Department of Public Works, Bay Area Recovery Canines and the Anne Arundel County Homicide Unit responded back to the scene of the residence fire. The Department of Public Works utilized large equipment in order to help remove heavy debris and secure dangerous areas within the residence. Once the scene was secured Fire Department recruits sifted through the rubble and debris in search of any evidence and or victims. Bay Area Recovery Canines also utilized specially trained dogs to assistance with the search through the debris.
At approximately 11:55 a.m., a second body was located in the rubble and debris by Fire Department personnel. The body was a white male and is currently unidentified. The Anne Arundel County Evidence Collection Unit collected items of evidentiary value located in the area of the deceased male in regards to the fire deaths investigation. The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner responded back to the scene and transported the male remains to Baltimore so an autopsy could be performed on December 12, 2015. The Anne Arundel County Police Homicide Unit is also assisting with the identification of the deceased white male found in the residence.
At this point in the joint investigation between the Police and Fire Departments, the police department is assuming command of the investigation. There are several suspicious factors in regards to the deaths coupled with evidence recovered from the scene. This has been a collaborative effort from several Anne Arundel County Agencies and is very fluid as information is being pieced together. As information becomes available an updated press release will follow.
On Saturday, December 12, 2015, the deceased white female was positively identified as Diana Lynn Knight a 59 year old female from the 1200 block of Old Camp Meade Road, Severn Md. The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner has ruled her cause of death from trauma to the upper body with the manner being homicide. The body of the unidentified white male was autopsied today as results are pending at this time as the investigation is ongoing. Homicide detectives are working with the OCME as to the identity of the deceased male. At this point in the investigation homicide detectives indicate preliminary information points to this being a targeted incident and not a random act of violence. As information becomes available an updated press release will follow.
On Monday, December 21, 2015, the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner was able to positively identify the deceased male as Jeffrey Allan Deberry, a fifty three (53) year old male from the 1200 block of Old Camp Meade Road, Severn, Maryland. The Anne Arundel County Homicide Unit had learned Diana Knight and Jeffrey Deberry had resided together in the 1200 block of Old Camp Meade Road. Due to an incident at the residence on December 6, 2015, Ms. Knight applied for and was granted a Temporary Protective Order against Jeffrey Deberry. On December 9, 2015, at approximately 6:25 p.m., the Anne Arundel Sheriff’s Office served the Temporary Protective Order on Mr. Deberry at which time he had to vacate the residence.
On Thursday, December 10, 2015 at approximately 3:40 a.m., the Anne Arundel County Fire Department responded to a dwelling fire in the 1200 block of Old Camp Meade Road where Ms. Knights body was discovered. During the early hours after the fire had been extinguished, homicide detectives assisted the Anne Arundel County Fire Marshalls Office in searching for Mr. Deberry. Detectives were able to locate the unoccupied vehicle of Mr. Deberry parked in a neighborhood within walking distance from the home he had been told just hours ago to vacate due to the issuance of a Temporary Protective Order. Homicide Detectives obtained a search warrant for Mr. Deberry’s vehicle and learned he had contacted Ms. Knight which was in violation of the Temporary Protective Order, shortly after it had been served.
On Friday, December 11, 2015 the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner ruled Ms. Knights cause of death as severe head trauma with the manner being homicide. As the investigation continued the fire scene was searched. A second body, which was identified as Jeffrey Deberry, was recovered from the fire scene. Mr. Deberry’s body was found in a seated position in a chair. Located with the body were two handguns, one revolver and one semi-automatic handgun. The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner identified Mr. Deberry’s cause of death as being severe head trauma and the manner being suicide. Both Ms. Knights and Mr. Deberry’s head injuries are consistent with having been shot.
The joint investigation between the Anne Arundel County Homicide Unit, the Fire Marshalls Office and the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner revealed there were ongoing domestic issues between Ms. Knight and Mr. Deberry. Ms. Knight obtained a Temporary Protective Order at which time it was served on Mr. Deberry and he had to vacate the residence. Mr. Deberry later returned to the area parking his car in a nearby neighborhood. Mr. Deberry then entered the residence in the 1200 block of Old Camp Meade Road where he shot and killed Ms. Knight before taking his own life. At this point in the investigation the Fire Marshalls Office is ruling the cause of the fire as being undetermined.
The Anne Arundel County Police are urging anyone with information to come forward by calling The Homicide Unit at (410) 222-4731. If people with information wish to remain anonymous they can also contact the Anne Arundel County Police Tip Line 410-222-4700 or Metro Crime Stoppers.