Body of Md. parole officer found under bed wrapped in plastic bags, charging documents say

A Maryland parole officer was allegedly killed by a convicted sex offender while making a routine visit to his apartment in May.

The body of a Maryland parole officer who was allegedly killed while conducting a routine visit last month was found wrapped in plastic and left under a bed.

That’s according to charging documents filed against Emanuel Edward Sewell, 54, who is charged with first-degree murder in the killing of 33-year-old Davis Martinez. Sewell was arrested after being taken into custody in West Virginia earlier this month.

Sewell’s defense attorney waived his bond hearing Monday, and a Rockville judge ordered he continue to be held without bail.

“As a community, we have a responsibility to protect all those charged with public safety who are trying to keep us safe in the community,” said John McCarthy, Montgomery County State’s Attorney. “If they’re going to work for us, we as a community need to work holistically to make sure they’re safe while they’re doing their jobs.”

Martinez was a parole officer assigned to visit Sewell’s Chevy Chase apartment to verify that he lived at the listed address. Shortly before 6 p.m. on May 31, Martinez’s co-workers became concerned after he never returned to work following a visit to Sewell’s apartment in the 2800 block of Terrace Drive, according to charging documents.

Once they arrived at the apartment, Montgomery County police officers could hear Martinez’s cell phone pinging from a nearby dumpster. Martinez’s car, a white Ford Taurus, was also parked outside.

“Officers forced entry through the front door of 2815 Terrace Drive and found an unconscious man wrapped in several plastic bags under a bed,” according to charging documents.

Martinez’s body was found in the fetal position under a bed. A bloody towel was near the front door, according to charging documents.

In charging documents, authorities said it was unclear how Martinez was killed.

Prosecutors said Martinez had been stabbed and had injuries to his head, lungs, neck and eyes. He also had bruising and swelling to his face.

A neighbor told investigators that someone knocked on Sewell’s door around 9 a.m. and that a white Ford Taurus — Martinez’s vehicle — was parked outside.

She said Sewell left his apartment around 2 p.m. and headed toward the dumpsters, where Martinez’s phone was found. He went back inside before leaving again, this time with two clear trash bags filled with clothes. The witness saw Sewell leave.

Police searched for Sewell and he was arrested by agents with the U.S. Marshals Task Force after a traffic stop on Interstate 64 in West Virginia on June 1 around 5 p.m. – a day after the killing.

Suspect was on parole after 1996 sexual assault

Online court records show Sewell was charged with first- and second-degree sex offenses and first-degree burglary in November 1996, related to the brutal sexual assault of a young man in Montgomery County.

He was on probation after completing his prison sentence in 2021. The Washington Post reported that Sewell broke into the apartment of a young physicist on October 1. December 18, 1996. The man woke up to Sewell threatening him with a knife in his hand. Sewell tied the man’s arms and legs, gagged his mouth and raped him. Sewell cited his drug addiction as a partial explanation for why he attacked a stranger, the Post reported.

He was sentenced to 40 years in prison and served 24 years.

Sewell was previously labeled a registered sex offender by the media, but he is not listed on Maryland’s sex offender registry. Prosecutors said his 1996 crime did not meet the standards at the time.

Questions remain about the motive for Martinez’s killing.

“I don’t believe it was a sexual offense of the same nature that led him to go to prison,” McCarthy said. “This is a violent attack against the agent who was carrying out the residence check.”

Initially, Sewell was charged with second-degree murder, but prosecutors said Monday his charge was upgraded to first-degree murder based on additional information uncovered during the homicide investigation.

Sewell’s next court appearance is scheduled for July 5.

Questions raised about parole officer safety

In response to Martinez’s death, home visits by parole and probation officers were temporarily suspended, WTOP partners at Maryland Matters reported. Union leaders who represent the state’s parole and probation officers claimed Martinez’s death was preventable and called for the firing of Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services Secretary Carolyn J. Scruggs.

“We are always concerned about the fate of our public servants, regardless of the situation they go to,” McCarthy said. “I don’t know, and I’m not going to talk about the procedures that are in place to protect these officers when they go into individual homes. I’ll just say it’s still a concern for us.

Maryland Matters reported that three leaders of the state’s Division of Parole and Probation, including Director Martha Danner and Deputy Director Walter Nolley, have been replaced since Martinez’s death.

Bobbie Joe Fockler will replace Danner and serve as interim director of parole and probation.

“The department will conduct a search to identify the best candidates to fill these important leadership roles,” Public Safety and Corrections Secretary Carolyn Scruggs said in an internal memo obtained by Maryland Matters. “In the meantime, new leaders have been appointed on an interim basis. During this transition period, we remain committed to maintaining the highest standards of safety and public service.

Governor. Wes Moore ordered flags to be flown at half-staff on June 1 in honor of Martinez, who he said is the first parole officer in Maryland allegedly killed by a client while on duty.

WTOP’s Sandra Jones reported from the Maryland District Court. WTOP news partners at Maryland Matters contributed to this report.

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