Boyfriend held in woman's death

Suspect and victim in Florida killing are from Arundel

August 05, 2007|By Nicole Fuller | Nicole Fuller,Sun reporter

A 23-year-old man from Gambrills was arrested yesterday shortly after he stepped off a plane in Florida, charged in the death of his live-in girlfriend -- a college student also from Anne Arundel County, authorities said.

Matthew R. Dieterle, who had been living in Palm Harbor, Fla., was charged with first-degree murder in the death of Samantha MacQuilliam, 19, law enforcement officials in Florida said.

MacQuilliam, who is also from Gambrills, was a student at the University of Tampa. Her body was found Thursday night in a bathtub in the house she shared with Dieterle and two other men in Palm Harbor, a community about 25 miles from Tampa, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office.

She had been "stabbed numerous times, strangled and beaten," the sheriff's office there said in written statement.

Police matched a bloody palm print from the rim of the bathtub to Dieterle, who police said drove to Maryland after the killing. Dieterle, with his mother, flew back to Florida and was arrested shortly after landing early yesterday morning at Tampa International Airport, authorities said.

Authorities in Florida had obtained an arrest warrant, and they took Dieterle into custody "without incident," police said. His arrest record with the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office lists his address in the 2000 block of Huntwood Drive in Gambrills.

Both Dieterle and MacQuilliam had lived for the past year in Florida while MacQuilliam attended the University of Tampa, authorities said.

MacQuilliam, a 2006 graduate of Arundel High School, was set to begin her sophomore year at the University of Tampa, where she was studying to become a pediatric nurse practitioner.

"She was an incredible young lady," said an aunt, Christi Pearson, who spoke yesterday on behalf of MacQuilliam's family. Her mother, Susanne Modica, and father, Christopher MacQuilliam, were too upset to comment.

Pearson declined to talk about Dieterle, other than to say, "We thought he was her ex-boyfriend."

In 2003, Dieterle was placed on five years' supervised probation after pleading guilty to a first-degree assault charge and a handgun offense, court records show. He received a four-year suspended sentence on the assault charge and a three-year suspended sentence on the handgun offense, those records show.

According to a written statement from the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office, MacQuillam's two other roommates discovered her body. She was wearing jeans and a bra, and according to authorities in Florida, she suffered "blunt and sharp" trauma to her head and upper body.

Police said there was evidence of a struggle in the bathroom where she was found, and that bloody towels suggested that the attacker had tried to clean up the area.

Dieterle was being held at the Hillsborough County Jail, and is to be transferred to authorities in Pinellas County this week, police said.

In the online memorials to MacQuilliam, her friends and family call her "Sam" and "Samy" and write directly to her.

"Sam you were a very loving, fun, caring, openhearted person. We all love you and are going to miss you dearly," reads an entry on Facebook.

A Web site apparently set up by the mother of a child MacQuilliam had baby-sat shows her smiling and playing with a young girl on a trip to Bush Gardens in 2006.

"Everyone that knew Samy, loved her. She was very dear to our family. She took great care of our daughter when babysitting and even helped us get settled in after we moved. Samy made such an impression that her picture earned a spot of honor on our fridge," the tribute states, adding: "Hopefully, her family can take some comfort in the knowledge that she touched so many lives, in such a short wonderful life."

A funeral is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Thursday at the Ascension Catholic Church, 12700 Lanham Severn Road, Bowie.

In addition to her parents, MacQuilliam is survived by two brothers, Kyle, 15 and Ryan, 3.

nicole.fuller@baltsun.com

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