Murder, suicide mystery to family

August 12, 2008|By Kevin Rector | Kevin Rector,Sun Reporter

Palmer C. White called 911 about 7:30 a.m. Sunday with a simple message: He had killed his wife in the basement of his Randallstown home and was headed back down there to kill himself, Baltimore County police said yesterday.

Not long after, a police SWAT team entered the house and found White, 71, and his wife, Dianne Pittman White, 55, in the basement, dead of gunshot wounds, police said. Authorities released their names yesterday.

Police said yesterday that Palmer White had "several medical and financial problems." They said they did not know why his wife had been killed.

According to court papers, Palmer White was sued last year by Capital One Bank for payment of more than $1,300 on a charge account and was sued this year by Beneficial Mortgage Co. of Maryland for failing to make payments on a $20,000 loan he took out in 2005.

It could not be determined yesterday what his medical problems were.

According to real estate documents, White had lived at the two-story, single-family house in the 4200 block of Mary Ridge Drive since 2000.

Artisteen Wade, Dianne White's cousin, said the incident has left her family in shock, wondering what had gone wrong in the couple's relationship. Wade said her cousin and Palmer White were married last year after having been in an on-and-off relationship for about 25 years.

Palmer White was "former military," Wade said, and worked as a limousine driver. His mailbox reads "U.S. Airborne, Special Forces Ranger."

They seemed like a normal, happy couple, she said, but "they couldn't have been normal because he killed her and then killed himself, but nobody knows what goes on behind doors," she said. "People can hide things very well."

Wade and a neighbor she was talking with outside the house yesterday afternoon said Dianne White was an avid gardener. Wade said she "always found something to laugh about."

Wade said her cousin was survived by a son, three grandchildren, four brothers, four sisters and her father.

"Her family is very sad. They have no answers. It was a shocker," Wade said. "It's something we're all having to deal with, and it's harder because we don't know why."

"I'm also feeling for Palmer's family," Wade said. Palmer White has a grown daughter who had been living in the house as of last year, according to court documents.

Police said they were continuing to investigate the incident.

kevin.rector@baltsun.com

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