Body Pulled from Liberty Reservoir Identified as City Fire Recruit

… Baltimore Fire Department recruit went missing in the area last month …

By Jean Marbella and Gus G. Sentementes

10:00 PM EDT, June 19, 2011

The body of a Baltimore City Fire Department recruit who was last seen May 29 was found Sunday afternoon in the Liberty Reservoir, police said.

The body, which had no obvious signs of trauma, was identified as Rodney Earl Goggins, Jr., 20, said Major Phil Kasten of the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office, which is continuing to investigate the death.

“This entire ordeal has been especially troubling to the recruits and the members of the department. We all had held out hope and optimism of his return,” said city Fire Department spokesman Kevin Cartwright. “We continue to pray for the family.”

Boaters had called the Baltimore City Watershed Rangers patrolling the reservoir shortly after 2 p.m. Sunday, reporting that they saw a body near the Carroll County shoreline area south of the Liberty Road Bridge. The rangers found the partially decomposed body in a remote area with dense vegetation, and contacted the sheriff’s office and rescue dive teams from Gamber Volunteer Fire Company. Goggins’ body was taken to the Medical Examiner’s Office for an autopsy.

Cartwright said Goggins’ family declined media requests Sunday for interviews.

Authorities had focused their investigation into Goggins’ disappearance on the reservoir and surrounding areas after finding his car in the area.

Goggins of Randallstown, last spoke with his mother on May 29, asking her to watch his 8-month-old girl while he went to his girlfriend’s house in East Baltimore. Goggins reportedly spoke with his girlfriend’s mother, but not his girlfriend, and then left around midnight.

Goggins never arrived home, and his mother said calls to his cellphone went to voice mail. He was reported missing when he failed to show up for fire training on May 31.

Dive and search teams for several area fire departments and law enforcement agencies have been involved in searching for Goggins since early June.

The Carroll County Sheriff’s Office said it is working closely with the Baltimore County Police in the investigation of Goggin’s death. Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Corporal Carlos Bustos of the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office at 410-386-2900, or the Anonymous TIPS Hotline at 1-888-399-TIPP.

Copyright © 2011, The Baltimore Sun

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