Police suspect murder-suicide in two deaths Woman, boyfriend found shot in Howard Co. home

July 19, 1998|By Del Quentin Wilber | Del Quentin Wilber,SUN STAFF Researcher Andrea Wilson contributed to this article.

Friends and neighbors of a single mother and part-time tutor expressed shock yesterday that she had been slain, apparently by a boyfriend who then killed himself.

The bodies of Ellie Kasten, 37, and Robert Harris, 44, were discovered about 8 p.m. Friday in Kasten's Highland home in Howard County by friends who worried because she hadn't picked up her 7-year-old son from camp.

Police said Kasten was shot in the head and face about 1: 30 a.m. Friday.

Harris' body was found near Kasten's body in the master bedroom with a gunshot wound to his head. Police said their investigation points to a murder-suicide, but they are awaiting results from an autopsy and forensic tests.

"She was just a loving mother," said Deirdre Barcomb, a neighbor. "She was active in her son's school. She was struggling to survive a divorce and as a single mother."

Friends said Kasten walked down Isle in the Skye Drive every day to meet her son's school bus and volunteered at Clarksville Elementary School.

About a year ago, Kasten moved there from Mink Hollow Road in Highland, where she had lived with her husband, Craig Schwartz.

It was there she met Harris, who lived on the street. Harris recently left his wife and moved to Silver Spring, said neighbors and friends.

On Friday, Kasten didn't pick up her son from camp.

A friend and two neighbors, Nancy and Mike Fitzpatrick, entered Kasten's home and began calling her name.

After climbing the stairs, Nancy Fitzpatrick saw a man lying beside Kasten's bed. Police later found both bodies in the master bedroom.

Funeral services for Kasten will be held at 2 p.m. today graveside at Judean Gardens on Georgia Avenue in Olney, a relative said.

Pub Date: 7/19/98

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.