PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY, Md. (DC News Now) — Police said officers arrested a man on Friday in connection to the murder of a Greenbelt teacher who disappeared in July.
The Greenbelt Police Department said Mariame Toure Sylla, 59, was last seen at her home in the 6500 block of Lake Park Dr.
During a news conference on Friday, Prince George’s County Police Chief Malik Aziz said that Harold Francis Landon III, 33, of University Park faced charges related to Sylla’s killing.
“This is just very devastating news today. This is our worst fear realized and it’s going to be very challenging for our community and for our educators to cope with,” Donna Christy, president of the Prince George’s County Educators’ Association, said.
Sylla went for a walk in Hanover Park the evening of July 29 and was never seen again.
Aziz said someone contacted police on Aug. 1 about possible human remains in the 7300 block of Old Alexander Rd. in Clinton. Officers found a dismembered body which was later confirmed by police that the body was Sylla’s, according to Aziz.
The Prince George’s County Police Department (PGPD) identified Landon as a suspect in the case. Aziz said that Landon was in the park at the same time as Sylla’s abduction and that his vehicle helped identify him. They do not believe the suspect knew the victim.
“This type of violence is just depraved and it wouldn’t make any difference to me it’s just it’s disturbing,” Aziz said.
Police said that he had been in custody since Aug. 1 on an “unrelated assault charge” and that there was no indication that Landon and Sylla knew each other.
“We will do everything in our power to get justice for your sister, your entire family, for our teachers for our schools in our entire community,” Aisha Braveboy, Prince George’s County State’s Attorney, said.
Sylla taught at Dora Kennedy French Immersion School, where people said it wasn’t like her to disappear or cut off communication with people. In addition to teaching, Sylla was known for her volunteer work in the community.
Police and community members worked together in searching for Sylla, including in the neighborhood in which she lived and the park where she often walked.
“To have a beloved member of our community taken away from us in this way is just so devastating,” Prince George’s County Executive, Angela Alsobrooks, said.
Aziz said PGPD worked with the Greenbelt Police Department and other law enforcement agencies to identify Landon as the suspect.
PGPD was working to determine a motive behind the killing.