A man stabbed a mother of three dozens of times, then drove around with her body for days before leaving her in a burning car in Maryland, prosecutors said.
Stephan Leroy H. Lunningham, 29, was arrested Wednesday and charged with the death of Angela Fay Thomas, who was last seen leaving a friend's apartment with a man March 12.
Lunningham stabbed Thomas 30 times, then drove around in her car with her body for two days before he set the car on fire not far from where he lived, prosecutors said at his first hearing Thursday.
Firefighters responding to a brush fire March 14 found Thomas' body inside the burning Honda sedan. The car was found across the street from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School, on a dirt road leading from Wisteria Drive to railroad tracks.
Investigators developed Lunningham as a suspect, and a car he was traveling in was stopped Wednesday on Interstate 495 in the area of Colesville Road.
Lunningham and Thomas were known associates, according to Montgomery County police. During an interview with police, Lunningham admitted that he stabbed Thomas after an argument and then burned the car containing her remains.
Thomas' family burst out in grief when they heard the details in court Thursday.
Outside of the courthouse, her mother, Edwina Wright, thanked one of the detectives for catching the suspect.
"She was a beautiful child inside and out," Wright said. "She didn't deserve what happened to her. We all loved her very, very much and we're going to miss her."
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She said her daughter knew Lunningham but they weren't romantically involved.
Thomas, who was called Paris by her friends and family, was a cosmotolgist.
"We'll never be whole again, but I'll always carry my sister in my heart," said her brother, Marshall Thomas.
Lunningham has been charged with first-degree murder and arson. He was ordered held without bond and faces life in prison if convicted.
He also faces unrelated robbery and assault charges.