Lacking an obvious motive in the shooting deaths of a Baltimore County horse farmer and his disabled wife, police began searching yesterday for someone who may have held a grudge against the couple.
There were no signs of forced entry or theft at the Woodlawn-area farmhouse of John G. Dietz Sr. and his wife, Lillian, both 63, according to Sgt. Stephen R. Doarnberger, a police spokesman.
"When robbery and breaking and entering appear to be lower on the scale of motives, then emotions and personal motives become the focus of the investigation," he said.
Police, who were summoned by a concerned family friend Sunday night, broke into the house about 1:45 a.m. yesterday and found Mrs. Dietz dead in bed and her husband's body nearby on the floor of their home in the 7700 block of Inwood Avenue.
Both were dressed in night clothes, Sergeant Doarnberger said.
An unidentified woman who cared for the horses boarded on the property told police that she last saw the couple Wednesday night before they went to bed.
Sergeant Doarnberger declined to say where the couple had been shot or how long they had been dead, for fear of hampering the investigation by disclosing information that only the killer would know.
However, he said police believe that the assailant locked the door after the shootings and took Mr. Dietz's candy apple-red Camaro, with handicapped license tag 087-33.
Polie found the abandoned car last night, but still had no suspects. It was spotted in the Chadwick Manor neighborhood, near Woodlawn, by an officer on another case.
Sergeant Doarnberger said Mrs. Dietz was diabetic and had been confined to the house. He said a plaque on their living room wall indicated that Mr. Dietz worked for General Motors and retired in 1975 from its automotive installation division.
In recent years, the couple had boarded horses on their farm, a secluded area just off of Johnny Cake Road near Patapsco Valley State Park.
They had an adult daughter, who lives in New York, and a son who lives near the farm.
The son, John G. Dietz Jr., told police Sunday night that he didn't know where his parents were, Sergeant Doarnberger said.