A Maryland resident has been charged with murder in relation to the disappearance and subsequent death of a local teacher, according to police reports released on Friday. Mariame Sylla, a 59-year-old educator at Dora Kennedy French Immersion School in Prince George’s County, was reported missing in late July by a close family friend. Sylla was last seen taking an evening walk in Greenbelt on July 29 and never returned home.
On August 1, a concerned local resident contacted the Prince George’s County Police Department to report the discovery of possible human remains in Clinton. The remains, which were dismembered, were later confirmed through DNA testing to be those of Sylla.
The investigation led to the identification of 33-year-old Harold Francis Landon III from University Park as a suspect in Sylla’s murder. According to police, Landon was in the park at the time of Sylla’s abduction and was later identified through his vehicle. He was charged with first-degree murder on Friday and is scheduled for his first court appearance soon.
Landon’s legal representation remains unclear at this time. He has been in the custody of the Department of Corrections since August 1 on an unrelated assault charge. Police have stated that there appears to be no prior connection between Landon and Sylla.
The motive behind the murder is still under investigation. Prince George’s County Police Chief Malik Aziz stated, “I just think we have a person who decided to go out and commit a horrific crime.” An autopsy is currently being conducted to determine Sylla’s cause of death, and investigators are working to establish the location and time of her murder.
Sylla’s disappearance sparked community-wide searches and prayer vigils in the weeks following her disappearance. Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks expressed her condolences to Sylla’s students and the community, stating, “To have a beloved member of our community taken away from us in this way is just so devastating.”