BERLIN – The state Medical Examiner’s Office on Monday positively identified the human remains discovered near a vacant residence in Somerset County last week as a former Ocean City resident who went missing in February 2006 and her suspected murderer was identified and arrested a short time later in North Carolina.
Using dental records, the remains found in the backyard of a vacant home in rural Somerset County on April 10 were found to be Rhonda Lee Parks, whose last known address was on 4th Street in Ocean City. Parks, a Crisfield native who had lived at different times all over the lower shore, was believed to have been living in Ocean City at the time of her disappearance in February 2006.
She was last seen at a Shore Transit bus stop behind the District Court building in Salisbury around 10:30 a.m. on Feb. 3, 2006. Four days later, Parks’ pocketbook and a pair of jeans she was believed to have been wearing at the time of her disappearance were found along Route 13 in Westover just four miles from where the human remains were found on April 10, leading police to believe the remains could have belonged to Parks.
Parks, who was five months pregnant when she went missing, was a certified nursing assistant working at PRMC in Salisbury at the time of her disappearance. Her disappearance remained a cold case until the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office received a tip from police in North Carolina about possible remains in the Manokin area in Somerset.
On April 10, the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office along with Maryland State Police and Maryland Natural Resources Police responded to the residence in question and found Parks’ remains on the property. About 10 feet from the vacant house, investigators discovered in a 55-gallon steel drum the burned and badly decomposed remains of what turned out to be Parks.
Parks’ alleged killer, Joseph Olandis Walter Hayman, Jr., 35, previously of Manokin in Somerset County who now lives in Charlotte, N.C., was arrested there this week and was charged with first- and second-degree murder, first- and second-degree assault and handgun violations. He was taken into custody without incident and is being held in Mecklenberg County, N.C. while awaiting extradition, which is being prepared by the Somerset County State’s Attorney’s Office.
It is not known if Hayman was Parks’ boyfriend, but he is definitely considered an acquaintance according to police reports. Another report suggested Hayman might have lived with Parks in Ocean City prior to her disappearance.