The manhunt for a former Maryland police officer accused of abducting his two daughters ended Thursday with him, a woman and two children fatally shot in an apparent murder-suicide, police said.
Former Baltimore County police officers Robert Vicosa, 41, and Tia Bynum, 35, and two young children believed to be Vicosa's daughters were found with gunshot wounds in an SUV in Smithsburg, Maryland, after a police pursuit, Maryland State Police confirmed late Thursday.
About 2:30 p.m., Pennsylvania State Police attempted to stop a Ford Edge that matched the description of a vehicle used in multiple crimes, but the driver continued across the Maryland state line, veered off the road and crashed into a fence line.
Maryland troopers tried to make contact with the people inside, but broke a window after getting no response. Bynum was found in the driver's seat, and Vicosa and the two children were in the back seat, Maryland police said. All four had been shot.
Vicosa, Bynum and one of the children were pronounced dead at the scene, and one child was taken to a local hospital, where she died, Maryland police said.
State police said there was no motive for the shooting, which they described as an apparent murder suicide.
Police believe Vicosa abducted his daughters, Giana, 6, and Aaminah, 7, in Pennsylvania and took them on a series of gunpoint crimes.
Vicosa’s estranged wife told police that she was assaulted Sunday by Vicosa, who held her at gunpoint and fled with the girls, according to authorities and NBC affiliate WBAL of Baltimore.
Police said Vicosa also kidnapped a man at gunpoint Wednesday in the Cockeysville area, about 14 miles north of Baltimore.
Vicosa and Bynum carjacked the man and forced him to drive to various locations before they released him without harm, Baltimore County Police Chief Melissa Hyatt said.
Vicosa and the girls were also seen Tuesday in Felten, Pennsylvania, just over the Maryland border.
A woman there told WBAL that Vicosa was hiding out in her camper and that when she discovered him, he held a gun to her.
"He wanted to tie me. ‘Anything in the camper to tie you up?’ I said, ‘No, I don’t.’ I said, ‘Take my car’ (and) got my keys, gave them to him," said the woman, whom WBAL did not identify.
He told the woman that he did not like the way his wife's family was treating his daughters, and at one point he left them alone with her, she said.
"I said, ‘Is your daddy going to hurt me?’ She said, ‘No, my daddy is nice,’” the woman said. The three eventually left.
York Area Regional Police Lt. Ken Schollenberger said this week that Bynum was a close friend of Vicosa.
After the reported abduction, police traced Vicosa’s phone, which came back to Bynum’s home, Schollenberger said.
Police interviewed her but she was not forthcoming. When they later returned with a search warrant, Bynum and her car were not there, he said.
Bynum, who worked in the police department’s criminal investigations bureau, was terminated Wednesday. Vicosa was a sergeant before he was demoted to officer and ultimately fired this year.
Three female officers had accused Vicosa, who used to go by Robert Brown, of “viewing inappropriate videos in their presence, making inappropriate remarks of a sexual nature, and leering,” according to police department records.