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Suspects Arrested In Connection To 2017 Murder Of Maryland Mother Found Dead On The Shore
Christina Harnish and William Rice were named as persons of interest in the murder fo Megan Tilman before authorities found them at a homeless camp in Arizona
A man and woman in Arizona were placed under arrest after authorities in Maryland accused them of a woman’s 2017 murder.
The remains of 42-year-old Megan Leah Tilman were discovered along a shoreline on Oct. 18, 2017, in Shady Side, Maryland, according to the Anne Arundel County Police Department. Weeks later, one of Tilman’s relatives reported no one had been able to contact Tilman since Sept. 26, 2017. Detectives collected DNA samples from Tilman’s relatives and confirmed that the remains belonged to her.
The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner concluded Tilman’s remains “displayed apparent trauma” and listed the manner of death as a homicide, according to her cold case file.
Now, two suspects have been arrested in Pima County, Arizona, and are awaiting extradition back to Maryland.
“For the past several years, Anne Arundel County Police homicide investigators have followed up on many leads, examined various pieces of evidence, and traveled the country to interview possible witnesses and persons of interest,” said Anne Arundel authorities. “On Jan. 19, 2022, homicide detectives, with the aid of the Anne Arundel County State’s Attorney’s Office, were able to secure arrest warrants for Christina Gail Harnish and William Eugene Rice Jr., believed to be responsible for the murder of Megan Tilman.”
Harnish, 45, and Rice, 46, were named as persons of interest back in 2020, according to NBC affiliate KVOA in Tucson. Anne Arundel Police worked with the Pima County Sheriff’s Office to find the pair, claiming they were the last people to ever see or hear from Tilman.
Local media reported that Tilman shared an Annapolis townhouse with her mother and the two suspects, according to local news station WBAL. The victim was allegedly in a relationship with Rice, who initially told police that Tilman ran off with another man.
Relatives grew concerned when the mother of three failed to show up at a custody hearing regarding her youngest child, according to WMAR News.
“She stopped communicating with her kid, and it was so unlike her,” Tilman’s cousin, Jenny Parks, told WBAL. “Every day, she was Skyping with that kid, no matter where she was or what she was doing.”
On Wednesday, the Fugitive Investigative Strike Team (FIST) of the Pima County Sheriff’s Department located Rice and Harnish at a homeless camp, according to their statement. Both were booked into the Pima County Adult Detention Complex and now face charges of first-degree murder.
Tilman’s father, Jim Tilman, spoke to WBAL following the arrests.
“I can sit here and say ‘I hope they burn in hell,’ but when it comes down to reality, I hope they get what justice is willing to give them,” he said. “I just want to put an end to it.”
According to jail records, Harnish is being held on a $500,000 bond, while Rice is being held on a $1,000,000 bond. It was unclear whether or not either one of the suspects had retained legal representation. Both await extradition back to Maryland.
Despite the arrests, police say the investigation remains “very active,” asking that anyone with information contacts the Anne Arundel County Homicide Unit at 410-222-4731.