Two arrested, charged with murder of Denton housemate

Body found Sunday floating in Choptank River

July 26, 2011|By The Baltimore Sun

Two women have been arrested and charged with murder after their 71-year-old housemate's body was found in the Choptank River, Maryland State Police said Tuesday.

Charlene R. Weddle and Mary S. Chider have been charged with murder and assault after the body of Louis R. Nichols was found in the Choptank River. State police identified Weddle as the daughter of Nichols' deceased spouse and said all three lived together in the 300 block of S. Fourth St. in Denton.

Nichols was last seen alive around 10 p.m. Saturday, when he left a friend's home in Ridgely. His body was found about 11 a.m. Sunday in the water not far from the former Route 404 bridge near Denton.

After conducting an autopsy Monday, the state medical examiner's office determined that Nichols was the victim of a homicide. The medical examiner's pathologists said the victim had "cutting wounds" to his head and hands and that at least some appeared to be from trying to defend himself, police said Tuesday.

According to the medical examiner, the victim "had also sustained blunt force trauma to the head and had been asphyxiated." The autopsy indicated that he was already dead when his body was placed in the river.

Weddle, 45, is charged with first- and second-degree murder and first-degree assault. After appearing in court, she was taken to the Caroline County Detention Center, where she is being held without bond.

Chider, 34, is charged with first- and second-degree murder and first- and second-degree assault. She was scheduled to make an initial appearance before a court commissioner Tuesday.

According to state police, investigators found blood and other evidence that Nichols was killed in the Fourth Street home and that his body was transported in his van.

Friends and witnesses told investigators that Weddle was overheard threatening to kill Nichols on Saturday night, police said.

Police officers say they do not know of a motive and that the investigation is continuing.

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