WEST OCEAN CITY – County detectives have used DNA analysis to positively identify human skeletal remains discovered in a densely wooded area off Route 611 in West Ocean City in early January.
After a months-long investigation, the Worcester County Bureau of Investigation (WCBI) announced yesterday the human remains discovered in January in a wooded area off Sinepuxent Rd. near Route 611 as Richard T. Wright, of Berlin, who would have turned 40 next month. WCBI detectives, with assistance from the Maryland State Police, used DNA analysis to identify the remains.
Around 2:15 p.m. on Jan. 9, Maryland State Police responded to the heavily wooded area in West Ocean City in reference to the discovery of human skeletal remains. Workers conducting perk tests on the property found the human remains and reported the discovery to the state police. The remains were turned over to the state Medical Examiner’s Office for autopsy and identification purposes.
According to police reports from January, no foul play was involved with the victim’s death and that has not changed. In a release this week, WCBI reiterated investigators believe Wright’s death was not the result of foul play. Based on evidence found in the area of the remains, the victim appeared to have been homeless. There was trash and other property found nearby that indicated the victim was likely living in the woods. According to original estimates, the victim had been deceased for at least a couple of months.
At the time of his passing, Wright was wanted by local law enforcement agencies on a warrant charging him with child abuse, assault and several sex abuse of a minor and several other sex offenses. After an investigation conducted by WCBI, with assistance from the Department of Social Services and Ocean City Police, Wright was charged with eight counts related to an alleged sexual assault on a 7-year-old female victim. Last August, local law enforcement agencies were combing the area for Wright, who had a warrant sworn out for his arrest for the alleged sexual abuse of the victim. With the positive identification of the remains found in the woods off Route 611 as Wright, the court recalled the warrant this week.
At the time of the discovery, the remains were described as belonging to a white male, roughly 5’6” to 5’10” tall in the range of 30-40 years old and the preliminary speculation proved to be accurate. According to court records, Wright was listed at 6-feet tall and 150 pounds and would have been 39 years old at the time of his death.