Couple found dead at home One victim had injury to head

3rd occupant of house is sought

December 31, 1998|By Sheridan Lyons and James M. Coram | Sheridan Lyons and James M. Coram,SUN STAFF

A Carroll County man and his wife were found dead in separate bathtubs at their Frizzellburg home early yesterday, after an anonymous caller asked state police to check on them, authorities said.

The bodies of Joseph Sidney Garrity, 68, and Barbara Lorraine Garrity, 67, were taken to the state medical examiner's office in Baltimore about noon, and an examination was planned today, officials said.

One of the victims had apparently suffered head trauma from a hatchet or an ax, according to a source close to the investigation. The the other body did not show any obvious wounds, police said.

First Sgt. Laura Lu Herman, a state police spokeswoman, said police had listed the deaths as "suspicious" and the cause of death "undetermined," pending the medical examiner's ruling.

"There was no indication of forced entry" at the house in the 1400 block of Warehime Road, she said, and no note was found.

The retired couple lived in the Pleasant Dale development, a small community of detached homes on 1-acre lots about 4 1/2 miles northwest of Westminster. The neighborhood was quiet yesterday afternoon -- except for police and television crews.

Two police officers -- one uniformed, another in civilian clothes -- searched on their knees in the grass outside one of two utility sheds in the back yard. Another officer paced back and forth, searching a barren farm field behind the house.

Police had not determined whether anything was missing from the home, which was shared by another adult male whom police were attempting to locate.

No arrest warrants had been issued in the case yesterday.

Anonymous call

The anonymous telephone call was made to the Westminster barracks at 11 p.m. Tuesday, Herman said. The caller gave the Warehime Road address and asked police to check on the welfare of the occupants.

She did not have the caller's exact words.

Search warrant

After the discovery of the bodies by officers, Herman said, police obtained a search warrant during the early morning hours, and began searching the home.

Police were also seeking a search warrant yesterday afternoon for a vehicle that had been located at Carroll County General Hospital in Westminster.

The case is being handled by the state police Special Investigation Support Unit of "very highly skilled criminal investigators," Herman said.

The drapes in the Garrity home were drawn and the blinds closed.

The flag on the mailbox was raised, indicating mail was to be picked up, and newspapers were folded in their boxes.

Pub Date: 12/31/98

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