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Gory details emerge in murder case of missing Frederick teen

Former classmate charged after "deal went bad"
Curtis Mason Smith
Frederick County Sheriff's Office cruiser
Posted at 8:47 AM, Mar 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-25 14:55:06-04

FREDERICK, Md. — Police in Frederick have made an arrest connected to the death of a missing teen whose body was found inside a car on Sunday.

Joshua David Eckenrode, 19 of Thurmont, is charged with the 1st-degree murder of 19-year-old Curtis Mason Smith.

Smith's family had reported him missing on March 19.

Three days later Smith's car was found at an abandoned property in the 8100 block of Runnymeade Drive, by someone who had been searching for their lost dog.

When deputies arrived, they discovered Smith shot to death in between the back passenger seat and floorboard.

Curtis Mason Smith
Curtis Mason Smith

RELATED: Body of missing Frederick teen found in car, police call death suspicious

Interviews with Smith's family and friends led detectives to Eckenrode, a onetime classmate of Smith's.

Detectives believe the two met on March 19 at Eckenrode's mother's house to discuss a gun deal.

The same day Smith's body was found, investigators carried out search and seizure warrants at two separate addresses associated with Eckenrode.

Inside the first location, an apartment in Thurmont, deputies discovered nine firearms and two improvised explosive devices.

According to a police report, a note was found supposedly written by Eckenrode to his family, apologizing for " having to go out this way. ”

Investigators write that Eckenrode could have possibly been planning a mass casualty event.

The next morning, detectives headed to Eckenrode's mother's house on Bethel Road in Frederick.

That's where police found trash bags filled with bloody clothing belonging to Smith and Eckenrode, along with cleaning wipes and soaked towels.

After examining Eckenrode's phone and speaking to one of his associates, detectives believe Smith was killed by Eckenrode at his mother's house.

Police believe Eckenrode stuffed Smith's body into the back of his Honda Accord before driving and dropping the car off at the abandoned Runnymeade property.

The associate told police that he picked Eckenrode up from the Runnymeade area on March 19 and dropped him back off at his mother's home.

During the ride, the associate claims that Eckenrode told him a "deal went bad," and asked "how do you get those-oil stains out," as he pointed to a presumed puddle of blood in his mother's driveway.

“Our detectives and deputies, along with officers from the Frederick Police Department, have been working around the clock to solve this murder,” said Lt. Andy Crone, FCSO Criminal Investigations commander. “These professionals worked every lead, tip, and call they received and through their investigative efforts this person was quickly identified and detained.”

Joshua David Eckenrode
Joshua David Eckenrode

Anyone with more information can call the tip line at 301-600-4131 and reference case # 21-025637.