UPDATE: Body Found in Reisterstown Ruled a Suicide

The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner has determined that the death of Darnell William Butler was a suicide.

UPDATED (1:45 p.m.)— The death of a Baltimore man whose body was found in Reisterstown Saturday was ruled a suicide by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.

Police found the body of Darnell William Butler, 24, of the 3800 block of Ferndale Avenue, at 11:30 a.m. Saturday in a wooded area near the intersection of Hanover Pike and Butler Road. A handgun was recovered at the scene, and the cause of death was determined to be a gunshot wound, according to a Baltimore County Police press release.

The body was found in multiple pieces from "animal activity," according to Bruce Goldfarb, spokesman for the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.

Police expanded their investigation in the Reisterstown area after a human hand was found by a landscaper in the 300 block of HedgePocket Way in Reisterstown Wednesday morning, approximately a quarter-mile from where the body was later found. The hand was later determined to belong to Butler, who was missing since Sept. 17.

Police believe Butler died in September, said Cpl. Cathleen Batton, a Baltimore County Police spokeswoman.


  1. Wednesday, Nov. 14 » A landscaper working in the 300 block of HedgePocket Way told police that he found what is believed to be the remains of a human hand.
  2. Thursday, Nov. 15 » The Chief Medical Examiner's Office determined it was a human hand, prompting police to expand its investigation in the Reisterstown area.
  3. 11:30 a.m. on Nov. 17 » Investigators find the body of an unidentified man near where the human hand was found in the Hanover Pike/Butler Road area.
  4. Sunday evening » Police identify the deceased as Darnell William Butler, a 24-year-old from Baltimore.
  5. Monday, Nov. 19 17 » The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner determines the cause of death to be suicide by gunshot.

Read More:

  • Police Confirm Human Hand Found in Reisterstown
  • Police: Reisterstown Landscaper Possibly Finds Human Hand
  • Police Investigating Human Body Found in Baltimore County
  • Police Identify Man Found in Reisterstown

Lutherville-Timonium Patch Editor Nick DiMarco contributed to this report.

Boss November 19, 2012 at 06:03 PM
doesn't make much sense?
Marc Shapiro (Editor) November 19, 2012 at 06:07 PM
The body was found in the woods. Police don't know how the hand was separated from the body, but I'll be contacting the Chief Medical Examiner's office to see if they can fill me in on that.
BNB111 November 19, 2012 at 06:13 PM
I'm a little confused, I understand this has been ruled a suicide but if that is the case, how come is hand was detached from the body? Was it an animal or should we be looking for some sick individual?
Mike November 19, 2012 at 06:15 PM
It's likely that an animal may have tried to take the hand. Happens all the time in nature....with deer carcasses, etc. Unfortunately, these were human remains in this case.
Adam Thomas November 19, 2012 at 06:40 PM
I bet all you morons making "hand" puns about his hand feel like jokers now huh?
Carl J. Galler November 19, 2012 at 06:43 PM
Now there's a body of evidence we can get a grasp of!
Marc Shapiro (Editor) November 19, 2012 at 06:45 PM
The story has been updated. The body was found in multiple pieces from "animal activity."
BobBaft November 19, 2012 at 06:45 PM
He'll be able to count on one hand how many times it happened to him now.
Carl J. Galler November 19, 2012 at 06:47 PM
Figured as much but thanks for filling in the gaps (I almost wrote pieces). Pretty grisly but such is nature...
GKB November 19, 2012 at 07:57 PM
AS a friend of the family, it's a real shame that so many people feel that they need to take this tragedy and make jokes and nasty comments, BobBaft / Carl J. Galler, ect... This young man was truly loved by his family and friends. How would you feel if this was your loved one, we all have to face our Kreator one day, hopefully they won't hold your disrepect of the dead against you..
M. Sullivan November 19, 2012 at 08:16 PM
Kreator ?
Carl J. Galler November 19, 2012 at 08:27 PM
GKB (btw, I don't hide behind a psuedonym or initials). Certanly if I was aquainted with the family I'd be reticent to make light of the situation. As it is, I'm not judging or making light of the victim, simply the disjointed (seriously, no pun intended) flow of information about the circumstances. And as far as I'm concerned, I've already told my friends and loved ones to make jokes and laugh when eulogizing me. So I plan to be as irreverent in my death as I am in life. C'est La Vie.
GKB November 19, 2012 at 08:50 PM
Kreator - That is my way if acknowledging the many different religions / beliefs that we have as individuals. I'm not hiding behind anything, those are my initials. We as individuals, have our own plans, views, ways to deal with death, our own and those of our loved ones. With that being said, some of the comments being made are in very poor taste and are very upsetting to the family. This was a very loving, intelligent, talented young man whose family is devastated by his death and the circumstances surrounding it.
Adam Thomas November 19, 2012 at 08:52 PM
Yeah it's pretty sick how people will laugh at anything. The story about the hand that was found, all anyone did was crack puns. Why did Patch staff not filter that garbage out?
AzureSkye November 19, 2012 at 10:53 PM
I agree with you 100% GKB. Some people are true idiots ! I see nothing amusing about this what-so-ever. Shame on all of You . My thoughts and prayers are with the family at this time. It could have easily been one of Our own...think before you speak !
Jenn S November 20, 2012 at 12:31 AM
Was the gun found?
Mick November 20, 2012 at 09:29 AM
Good thing Bob and Carl wrote their full names. Now everyone can see what an ass they are. According to Carl, he is allowing people to tell jokes at his funeral, so it is okay to make light of someone elses death. Really? Idiot
Buck Harmon November 20, 2012 at 01:07 PM
Keep in mind, the hand was the initial story...it was ~in it's own odd way, interestingly funny...there was never any ill thought or lack of care or respect for it's owner, or the owners family...it's just the way the discovery unfolded... When a suicide has been legally reported, by a handgun that was found at the scene, the fact that the hand was missing seemed equally odd... If you plan to follow blow by blow stories as they are reported sometimes by Patch, it kinda goes with the turf....hopefully the young man is now in a better place than those he left behind..
Buck Harmon November 20, 2012 at 01:11 PM
O~ and Carl...I hope I live just a few days longer than you so that I might have a chance to hang with your friends...)
Marc Shapiro (Editor) November 20, 2012 at 02:17 PM
Adam - I can't remove comments just because they're in bad taste. That doesn't violate our terms of use.
PerryHallParent November 20, 2012 at 02:36 PM
Very well put and accurate Buck. It was a very odd story and people took off with it. Now that the story has come to light, people have moved on, except for the high and mighty with their chastising. Good grief.
Hmmm November 20, 2012 at 04:47 PM
The body was found in multiple pieces from "animal activity," according to Bruce Goldfarb, spokesman for the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.
Harry Callahan November 20, 2012 at 05:42 PM
I have not yet heard how the police determined that this was a suicide. Was a note left at the scene or at the deceased person's home or vehicle? I would think that without solid proof of suicide then this would be a good way to kill some one and get away with it - kill your victim, then leave the proabably stolen gun at the scene thus...suicide (unless, of course you live in Baltimore City, then you would not have to worry about it because the court system would simply nolle prosequi the case for one reason or another and you would get off easily).
Carl J. Galler November 20, 2012 at 09:08 PM
You'd be most welcome to attend and join in Buck! ;-)
Lorna D. Rudnikas November 21, 2012 at 03:38 AM
It would be interesting to know exactly how the Medical Examiner came to conclusion that this was a case of suicide. Amazing!! Can the forensics be discussed in a public way?
Buck Harmon November 21, 2012 at 02:29 PM
Yes and with amazingly efficient speed...
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Well Marc, that's pretty unfortunate.
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