Couple found fatally shot at their waterfront home Victims' house was ransacked

November 15, 1993|By Joan Jacobson | Joan Jacobson,Staff Writer

A Baltimore County couple were found slain Saturday night at their ransacked home in the rural waterfront community of Cedar Beach in the Essex area.

Wade and Susan Finneyfrock were found dead of multiple gunshot wounds shortly after 10 p.m. at their modest one-story house on the 2300 block of Poplar Road, just across the street from Sue Creek.

Mr. Finneyfrock, 54, was found dead inside the side door, while his wife, 51, was found dead outside the house on the steps.

Baltimore County police Sgt. Ronald P. Stotler said it is possible the couple walked in on a burglary, although he did not know if anything had been taken.

The slayings were reported to police by the couple's son, James G. Finneyfrock, 28, who lives at the home.

Police said yesterday they knew of no suspect in the killings.

Detectives said it appeared that the Finneyfrocks were shot with their own rifle that was found at the home, although ballistics tests will be conducted to verify whether it is the weapon, Sergeant Stotler said.

He said Mrs. Finneyfrock died of multiple gunshots to her torso.

He did not know where gunshots had struck Mr. Finneyfrock.

Sergeant Stotler said Mr. Finneyfrock was retired from the Navy. He did not know Mrs. Finneyfrock's occupation.

The couple's next-door neighbors, Janet and Wallace Fox, said they heard three gunshots, followed by a scream Saturday night.

"I looked at the clock and it was exactly 12 minutes after 10. I looked out the window, but it was too dark. I didn't see anything," Mrs. Fox said.

Mr. and Mrs. Fox said they heard no cars arriving or leaving the house before or after the killings in the quiet community.

About 10 minutes later, she said, James Finneyfrock came to their door. "He was hysterical. He said, 'Something's wrong with my mother. Call 911,' " Mrs. Fox said.

Because the Foxes have no telephone, they directed him across the street to neighbor Sharon Freund's house.

Mrs. Freund said she handed the young man a cordless telephone outside the home so he could call police, but did not let him inside because she and her husband didn't know him.

"He was upset. . . . He kept saying, 'Oh, my God, oh, my God,' " Mrs. Freund said.

She and her husband, Bob, said they didn't hear any gunshots or other noises at the time of the slayings.

"Usually if anything happens you at least hear dogs barking," Mrs. Freund said.

The Foxes said they found it unusual there were no lights on at the Finneyfrock home at the time of the shootings.

"They always had the lights on in the kitchen until late," Mrs. Fox said. She and her husband said a motion-activated light outside the house, usually set off by someone walking or driving up to the house, wasn't operating.

The Foxes described the couple as quiet and pleasant. They often saw Mr. Finneyfrock walking outside with a grandchild.

Because of the darkness, the Foxes were unable to see Mrs. Finneyfrock's body slumped over the steps of the house until police arrived and lights were turned on.

The Foxes said James Finneyfrock told them yesterday morning that burglars took several guns from the house and had other items piled up near the door that were not taken.

He couldn't be reached for comment yesterday. No one answered the door, where a life-sized cardboard Halloween skeleton still decorated the Finneyfrock house.

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