The last time Karen Scott, 18, saw her big sister, Florentine Sherry Scott, 20, the elder sibling and a friend were going to a store for cigarettes.
That was about 2 a.m. Tuesday. Karen and Sherry; Sherry's boyfriend, Tom James King, 23; and Lynette Ruffin, 29, were standing outside George B. Murphy Homes, a West Baltimore public housing project in the 1000 block of Argyle Ave. where they all lived. They were joking and laughing.
"I asked [Sherry] for a cigarette and she said, 'I have only one left,' so we smoked the cigarette together," said Karen Scott. Then, Sherry Scott, 20, said that she and King and Ruffin were going to a store on Pennsylvania Avenue for more cigarettes.
King quickly returned, Karen Scott said. "Next thing I knew, they [Sherry and Lynette] didn't come back."
Karen Scott said she telephoned police and "all the hospitals, but they said they weren't there. First, I wasn't worried because I knew they were going to come back."
But Tuesday afternoon, a homicide detective knocked on Karen Scott's door and told her the bad news. Sherry Scott was dead. She had been shot once in the head.
Lynette Ruffin was shot in the right side of her neck and remains in fair condition at Johns Hopkins Hospital, a spokeswoman there said.
"I blame myself," Karen Scott said. "It was really too late for them to be out. I should've made her come in the house, both of them come in, and wait till tomorrow."
Police said a man taking a short cut through Herring Run Park in northeast Baltimore found the two women about 8 a.m. Tuesday in a wooded area at the end of an access road. Sherry Scott was naked from the waist down and wore only a white T-shirt, bra and white socks. Ruffin was fully clothed.
An autopsy was scheduled to determine whether Scott had been sexually assaulted, police said.
L Ruffin managed to tell police that she was shot about 3 a.m.
Police said they have no motives or suspects in the shooting, which has left family and friends confused.
"I don't understand what happened," said Angela Scott, 22, the sisters' first cousin. "They weren't the type of girls who would jump into cars with just anybody. It's so strange."
Angela Scott said police believe that the victims, who were best friends, were picked up in the 1500 block of Pennsylvania Ave.
Karen Scott said her ill mother, who lives on the 13th floor of the high-rise, will care for her sister's three children, who are ages 5, 3 and 9 months. The family hasn't been able to make funeral arrangements because police haven't allowed them to view the body, pending completion of an autopsy, she said.
Sherry Scott, also known as Missie, was the second of three girls. She liked to play basketball, run and dance, Karen Scott said. Sherry dropped out of Booker T. Washington Junior High in the eighth grade to have her eldest child, Adolf. She moved out of her mother's apartment in February to live with King and their three children on the floor below.