Cleaning woman slain at Calverton School

November 01, 1992|By Michael Fletcher | Michael Fletcher,Staff Writer

Leroy McFadden was shocked and confused yesterday as he tried to figure out why anyone would want to kill his wife as she did her job cleaning classrooms in a West Baltimore middle school.

"She never gave anyone any problems; there was no reason for someone to do that to her," Mr. McFadden said. "She went to work and was stabbed to death. That shouldn't happen."

Earlene McFadden, 58, who had been a school custodian for 18 years, was fatally stabbed in the chest and throat Friday afternoon after she apparently interrupted a burglary at Calverton Middle School, Baltimore police said.

Nat Harrington, a city school spokesman, said yesterday the classroom where the stabbing occurred had been the collection point for a school-wide fund raising project. The effort netted more than $1,000, and the money raised by selling candy bars was turned into the school's central office each day, he said.

"It was an unprovoked attack; there was no reason he had to attack her," Detective Errol Etting said. "She was a slight woman, so he could have just brushed past her and gotten out of the place. I don't know whether he just panicked or was on drugs."

The murder prompted the head of the union representing the school system's 660 custodians to call for increased security patrols at night.

"We need security not just when students and teachers are in the buildings," said Glen Middleton, president of AFSCME Local No. 44, the union representing 5,000 city workers. "I'm going to ask the mayor and [Baltimore School Superintendent] Dr. [Walter G.] Amprey to put more security officers in the schools at night."

As the ranks of school custodians has thinned, he said, more of them are working whole wings of schools alone.

Mrs. McFadden screamed and was heard by another custodian and a teacher in a nearby room, police said. They rushed to the classroom and saw Mrs. McFadden bleeding on the floor.

They also saw a black man about 5 feet, 4 inches tall running

out, carrying a knife. The killer was described as being in his late teens or early 20s, weighing about 140 pounds and wearing a blue sweater with white stripes around the sleeves and a blue knit cap.

Anyone with any information is asked to call the homicide unit at 396-2100.

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