Homicide detectives are investigating the death of a man whose remains were found Wednesday in the forested mountains of western Maryland shortly after a female companion walked out of the woods, suffering from hypothermia, authorities said.
The man's body was found on a logging road and bore signs of trauma, Maryland State Police spokesman Greg Shipley said.
He said police are still trying to confirm the man's identity. The state medical examiner's office will determine the cause and manner of death, Shipley said.
"We just have a lot of unanswered questions at this point," Shipley said in a telephone interview.
The man and woman, both in their early 20s, were last seen together around 5 p.m. Tuesday near a Savage River State Forest trailhead near the rural community of Barton, about 140 west of Baltimore, Maryland Natural Resources Police spokeswoman Candy Thomson said. She said her agency launched a search at about 3 a.m. Wednesday in response to a 911 call reporting them missing.
Thomson said the woman walked out of the woods to a house shortly before 9 a.m., and emergency responders were called. A Maryland State Police helicopter crew spotted the man's body shortly thereafter on private property adjacent to the 54,000-acre state forest, she said.
Police have not released the woman's name.
The pair drove separately to the trailhead area, where both cars were found, Thomson said.
Shipley said the body was found near Pine Swamp Road, which is crossed by the Big Savage Mountain hiking trail. The trail there follows a logging road through steep, rocky terrain, according to the website of Garrett Trails, a nonprofit group that promotes hiking in Garrett County.
The night was relatively mild, with overnight lows in nearby Frostburg and Cumberland never dropping below 40 degrees. Live traffic cameras operated by the Maryland Department of Transportation show little snow cover remaining along Interstate 68 after a storm Friday covered the region with up to 6 inches.