County Police: Man Stabbed North Bethesda Woman Who Was Found Dead in Burning Car
Germantown man was arrested Wednesday
Stephan Leroy H. Lunningham
Via Montgomery County police
The body of a North Bethesda woman found in a burning car last week in Germantown died by homicide and a suspect in her killing has been arrested, Montgomery County police said.
Stephan Leroy H. Lunningham, a 29-year-old from Harmony Woods Lane in Germantown, was charged with first-degree murder and first-degree arson for allegedly stabbing the woman and burning a car with her body inside, police said.
Police said the state medical examiner’s office has “tentatively identified” the victim as Angela Fay Thomas, a 49-year-old who lived on Grosvenor Place in North Bethesda.
Capt. Paul Starks, a police department spokesman, said the office sometimes takes longer to confirm an identity of the body when there’s been significant burning or decomposition. He said investigators believe the remains belong to Thomas based on the medical examiner’s findings, Lunningham’s statements to police and “other corroborating information.”
The car was found March 14 parked on a small access road between Wisteria Drive and nearby train tracks and across the street from Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School. Firefighters were called to the residential area at about 4:30 a.m. for the report of a brush fire, and found the car in flames.
In the back seat, they found Thomas’ body. Firefighters called police to the scene and a death investigation began.
The state medical examiner’s office conducted an autopsy and ruled the death as a homicide, according to a police press release issued Thursday morning.
Lunningham and Thomas knew each other, Starks said, though he didn't specify the nature of their relationship. Lunningham was identified as a suspect and police obtained a warrant for his arrest on Monday.
On Wednesday afternoon, police stopped Lunningham in a vehicle on the Beltway near the Colesville Road exit in Silver Spring and arrested him.
While in police custody, Lunningham allegedly told police he stabbed Thomas after a verbal altercation, then burned the car in which she was in, according to police.