Suspected Murder-suicide Leaves Community Reeling

Woman Strangled

Husband Found Dead In Car

December 15, 1991|By Carol L. Bowers | Carol L. Bowers,Staff writer

Colleagues and neighbors of a Churchville couple, whose deaths police are calling a murder-suicide, are reeling from the tragedy.

"It's just terrible. It's a shock to the whole community," said Richard Pappas, president of Harford Community College. The suspected murder victim, Theresa Deanne Daugherty, had been the registrar at HCC for the past seven years.

She was found dead at about 5:45 p.m. Tuesday in the bathroom of the couple's home in the 2500 block of Palmer View Drive, said state police Sgt. Edwin Lashley.

"Her husband said he found her submerged in the bathtub," said Lashley. "An autopsy report (Thursday) showedthe cause of her death was strangulation."

Thursday afternoon, state troopers returned to the Daugherty home to question the husband, John Norman Daugherty, about his wife's death, said Lashley.

But the man was found dead in a car parked with the motor running inside aclosed garage, Lashley said.

State police spokesman Chuck Jacksonsaid the preliminary autopsy report shows the cause of John Daugherty's death to be carbon monoxide poisoning.

"Based on the evidence at hand, there was no reason to believe there was any other involvement, other than what happened between these two in the home," said Jackson. "It appears he acted solely on a motive we have not been able to establish."

Melinda Murray, a neighbor who returned from vacation late Wednesday night to find state troopers' cars parked outside the Daugherty home, said, "It's such a quiet neighborhood. It's really a shock."

HCC administrators who worked with Deanne Daugherty described her as warm and caring.

She had worked at the college for more than 17 years, starting as a secretary and working her way throughthe ranks to become director of records and registration. During that period, Deanne, as co-workers called her, earned an associate in arts degree at HCC, a bachelor's degree from the University of Maryland, and a master's degree from Central Michigan University.

"Some ofher friends at work have been inconsolable," said Frances Turcott, an HCC spokeswoman. "We have called in a counselor to help them through this. The feeling at the college is that this was a good marriage, and there was no indication there was a problem."

Gail A. Hawkins,who as dean of student services was Deanne Daugherty's supervisor, described her friend as a "private person, but warm, caring and friendly." She said the Daughertys had been married about three years, a second union for each.

"Deanne had made it up through the ranks," said Hawkins. "She was very committed to HCC. She often worked until 6 p.m or 7 p.m. She was zealous in her ability to get the job done and get it done well. She was perfect for the job of registrar. She was very detail-oriented."

John Daugherty was a data base administratorin the state Department of Human Resources in Baltimore.

Stan Frerking, executive director of the office of information management where John Daugherty worked, said colleagues are upset.

"John was an honest, sincere person. He was a gentle giant. That's what we called him because he was a big man, 6-foot-4 and very stout," said Frerking. "The evening before (Deanne Daugherty's death), John and I spent about 15 or 20 minutes in my office after hours just sitting and talking about cars."

Services for Deanne Daugherty were scheduled for 11a.m. yesterday at Havre de Grace United Methodist Church.

Information about services for John Daugherty was not available Friday.

The couple is survived by four children: Deanne Daugherty's daughters,Ann Waite Bohdel and Marcie Lynn Waite of Bel Air; and John Daugherty's sons, John Norman Daugherty III and William Richard Daugherty of Aberdeen.

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