LEXINGTON PARK, Md. — Family and friends gathered for a vigil to remember a St. Mary’s County mother and daughter who were found dead and buried in shallow graves earlier this week, according to the sheriff's office.
On Thursday, the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office announced it had opened a homicide investigation into the death of 37-year-old Martina Lynn Patterson and 6-year-old Lyneasha Justice Greenwell, both of Lexington Park. Their family said they had not heard from the pair since Sunday.
Authorities stated their homicide investigation was being conducted in the 46800 block of Rogers Drive in Lexington Park. Patterson and Greenwell’s relatives said that was where the victims lived.
That location was also where the pair’s friends and family held a vigil on Thanksgiving evening.
Margaret Proctor, Patterson’s mother and Greenwell’s grandmother, said her family had been deeply affected by the loss of their loved ones.
“They’re the sweetest people in the world,” she said. “Martina would do anything for anybody. Take her shirt right off her back for anybody.”
Proctor announced during the vigil that the St. Mary’s Sheriff’s Office had called her to let her know that it had made an arrest in the case.
WUSA9 later confirmed that Wayne Carroll Key Jr., 42, of Great Mills, had been taken into custody in connection to the alleged murders of Patterson and Greenwell.
“I am so happy he has been caught,” she said. “Justice is going to be served.”
Proctor added that she was informed that Key had been arrested in the Charles County community of Nanjemoy.
Deputies had previously issued warrants for Key’s arrest, including two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of second-degree murder, two counts of first-degree assault, and two counts of second-degree assault.
The sheriff’s office also said Key had prior warrants out for burglary, harassment, and issues relating to child support.
Lanelle Wald, Patterson’s sister-in-law and best friend of more than 20 years, said the family had previously reported Key to authorities for alleged incidents of domestic abuse.
“I would say that domestic violence needs to be taken seriously,” she said. “We’ve reached out to the police many times for help and nobody’s done nothing.”
Maryland court records show Key was the defendant in two separate domestic violence cases in St. Mary’s and Calvert counties in the last two years.
Wald said she could not believe someone would take the life of a six-year-old.
“Lyneasha was only six-years-old,” she said. “She hadn’t lived life yet and to take that baby away from her family, that’s just cruel.”
Police have not released the manner in which Patterson and Greenwell died. Wald added she had yet to be informed of their cause of death as well.
Patterson and Greenwell’s family have set up a GoFundMe account to pay for their burial expenses. Proctor said neither of the victims had life insurance. You can read more about that GoFundMe page here.