2021 | Police & Fire

UPDATED: Rockville man charged with neglect after father’s remains found in his home

Other relatives reported no contact with father in nearly a year

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This story was updated at 2:30 p.m. Sept. 15, 2021, to add a statement from the family of Gary W. Howes and at 4:50 p.m. to update references in the story and headline to the remains.

A Rockville man has been charged with neglect after police found his father’s remains in his house this month, the Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office said Wednesday.

Gary D. Howes, 51, was arrested on Sept. 10 and charged with one count of abuse or neglect of a vulnerable adult, according to court records.

Charging documents state that officers went to Howes’ home in Rockville on Sept. 6 after his aunt called police and said she was worried about her brother-in-law. The aunt told police that Howes’ father was in poor health and that she could not reach him by phone, according to documents.

The aunt told police that Howes has been the caretaker of his father, Gary W. Howes, and that the last known contact between the father and any family member was in October 2020, according to charging documents.

The aunt also told police that family members tried to check on her brother-in-law several times, but the younger Howes either doesn’t answer the door or refuses to grant access, charging documents allege.

The last known contact between Howes’ father and a medical professional was in December 2020, doctors and pharmacists told police.

Police went to Howes’ home on Sept. 7 and tried to enter, but he wouldn’t allow them inside, documents state. Howes told officers his father was in West Virginia visiting a friend. Police later determined that the friend had died in 2016.

Police determined that Howes sold items from his home at an antique mall in Olney that he visited multiple times, and told an employee there that his father had died, documents state. Howes also allegedly gave away guns, posed as a security officer and was eventually asked by store employees not to return.

Howes’ neighbors told police they hadn’t seen his father for eight months, documents state.

Officers searched Howes’ home on Sept. 9 and found human remains in a bedroom under a filing cabinet, documents state. The body was in full decomposition, police said.

The family of Gary W. Howes released a statement on Wednesday, through attorney Jerry W. Hyatt of Rockville, saying they were “shocked and saddened” by his death.

“They are actively assisting law enforcement in the investigation into the circumstances of his death. Please give our family privacy as we mourn his loss,” the statement read.

Gary D. Howes appeared in district court on Monday and was released on a $10,000 unsecured personal bond, according to the State’s Attorney’s Office. The release is conditioned on Howes receiving mental health treatment, staying away from the crime scene, having no contact with certain people, observing a curfew, and electronic monitoring. He was still detained as of Wednesday morning.

Attorney information was not available for Howes on Wednesday. Howes’ phone number was disconnected.

He is due in court on Oct. 8 for a preliminary hearing, according to court records.

Dan Schere can be reached at daniel.schere@bethesdamagazine.com