Neighbors Say They Feared Body Was Buried in Neighborhood
Police charged Robert Jarrett 21 years after his former wife disappeared. A body was found this week buried in concrete under his shed.
Friends and neighbors of Christine Jarrett, missing for 21 years, said they feared her body had been buried on property where she lived on Claire Drive in Elkridge. Her husband has been charged with first-degree murder in her death.
News helicopters hovered over Claire Drive Thursday trying to get footage of the shed where police dug up a body on Wednesday that they said is likely that of Jarrett, who disappeared in January 1991.
Robert Jarrett, who is separated from his current wife, has been charged with first-degree murder and is being held at the Howard County Detention Center without bail. A trial date has not been set.
He was arrested after being pulled over in a traffic stop and showed no emotion, according to WBAL.
"'Why it took Howard County police 21 years to find it, I don't know,'" Cindy Fryer told WUSA.
Fryer lives next door to the Jarrett house and said she saw a body bag being brought out Wednesday.
Neighbors told Elkridge Patch on Thursday that "all the kids said she was under there," referring to the toolshed in the Jarretts' back yard.
"There was always speculation about it, that he did it," said one woman, who lived at the end of Claire Drive for more than 40 years.
The Howard County Police Department said that it suspected "foul play but did not have evidence at the time to prove it."
Robert Jarrett would not allow police to search the property, according to WJZ.
The case went cold until 2002 when Howard County Detective Daniel Lenick was assigned the missing person case. Lenick's interviews with neighbors and friends "drew further suspicion that Robert Jarrett was responsible for the disappearance of Christine Jarrett," according to charging documents.
In 2012, Lenick and Cold Case Investigator Nick DeCarlo learned that Robert Jarrett and his current wife were having marital problems and separated, said the documents, and his current wife had not been interviewed about the case, the documents showed.
On April 17, the two officers spoke with her and she agreed to let them search the premises, "specifically the shed located in the right rear part of the backyard," said the report.
On April 18, the two officers returned to Claire Drive to execute the search. "Located in the shed were human remains with personal effects directly connecting them to Christine Jarrett," according to charging documents, which said the remains were "buried under the floorboards and covered with concrete."
The remains have not yet been officially verified as the body of Christine Jarrett.
Readers on Elkridge Patch commented on the case.
"Finally, justice for this poor woman," said one.
"Has he had his day in court and been found guilty by a jury of his peers? What happened to innocent until proven guilty?" said another.
"You all should just stop and say a prayer for the children who can finally have closure in the tragic death of their mother," wrote someone identified as Mr. Rose.
Christine Jarrett left behind two sons who were 5 and 10 at the time of her death. They could not be reached for comment.
“We have all been affected.....there is no closure....." wrote Heidi. "It will be with all of us forever."