Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
April 21, 2024

Body in harbor confirmed as School of Medicine professor

By NASH JENKINS | November 16, 2012

University officials have identified the woman who died after being found in the Baltimore Harbor Thursday morning as Elizabeth O’Hearn, an associate professor of neurology and neuroscience at the Hopkins School of Medicine. Marylisa Price, Director of Finance at the School of Medicine, confirmed that the deceased was the Hopkins doctor.

Around 5:45 a.m. on Thursday, officers in the marine unit of Baltimore City Police’s southeast district responded to a phone call from an unnamed citizen describing a woman lying face-down off a pier near the 2300 block of Boston Street in Canton, near Fells Point -- within a block of where O’Hearn lived. Paramedics transported her to Hopkins Hospital, where she was declared dead at 8:18 a.m.

There remains no word on the cause of death or whether or not foul play was involved.

“The detectives are investigating as to what actually happened, so I can’t speculate just yet on whether or not it was an act of foul play,” Detective Vernon Davis, a public information officer at Baltimore City Police, said. “However, we don’t think that the person who made the initial police call had a role in pushing her in the water or anything like that, which has happened before.”

Both University and police officials were at first hesitant to confirm that the Elizabeth O’Hearn found in the water is the Elizabeth O’Hearn on the Hopkins faculty, in spite of positive circumstantial evidence.

“If you Google her name, all you see is information about a Hopkins doctor,” Davis said.

O’Hearn began her tenure at the School of Medicine in 1994 and received an M.D. from the school in 1985. In addition to her role as an assistant professor of neurology, she also conducted research on mechanisms of neuronal injury, exototoxicity, purkinje cell degeneration and neurodegenerative diseases such as Spinocerebellar Ataxias.

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