MARYLAND

Moneta Strickland's death ruled a homicide

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CALIFORNIA, Md. (WJLA) - Her family says Moneta Strickland had everything to live for. She was known as a sweet, hardworking person.

She was a nurse with a good job at her hometown St. Mary's Hospital. She was soon to be married. Her wedding website is loaded with smiling pictures with her fiancé. He is an electrical engineer.

Things were looking bright until police found her body Friday morning in these woods just off a jogging trail near her Hollywood, Maryland home.

An autopsy now confirms what was feared. She was murdered.

State police and county sheriff's detectives jointly working the case combed the woods next to the Three Notch Trail for clues Monday. Police say the case is wide-open. They need the public's help.

“If anybody using that park sees anything or anybody that raises suspicion call us immediately,” says Capt. Terry Black of the St. Mary's Sheriff office.

Strickland was last seen Thursday. When she show up for work Friday, her loved ones knew something was wrong.

Her fiancé later found her car in the parking lot of the John Baggett Park.

Police dogs found the body. It appears Strickland had gone for a run when somebody grabbed her. Police have no suspects, an unsettling fact for those on the trail.

“I don't want to think it was a stranger and it was just random because then it makes us all worry,” says Phyllis McCauley.

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