A woman in Maryland is accused of murdering her elderly roommate who was a longtime family friend, police said.
On July 28 at around 8:20 a.m.,Montgomery County police and Montgomery County Fire Rescue were dispatched to a residence in Kensington after Julia Birch, 26, allegedly called 911 and told a dispatcher she killed her 92-year-old roommate, Nancy Ann Frankel.
Authorities took Birch into custody and she again allegedly admitted in an interview to murdering Frankel, police said.
Law enforcement officials did not disclose a possible motive for the crime. Charging documents state Frankel’s family learned Birch allegedly had suffocated the elderly woman, the Washington Post reported.
The victim’s son-in-law, Bill Streit, 66, told the outlet family friends Frankel, an artist, and Birch first met through their relatives’ jobs with the Catholic Worker Movement and had known each other a long time.
“We watched her grow up,” Streit told the Post of the murder suspect, who he recalled was sweet and empathetic. “Even in our wildest imagining, no one would have ever ever ever thought this could possibly happen.”
The pair reportedly had only lived together for several months at the time of Frankel's slaying.
According to Streit, loved ones believed the pair’s roommate arrangement would be a “win-win” situation since his mother-in-law, who he described as “the strongest" and "purely good," would have companionship while Birch would have a place to stay.
Police charged Birch with first-degree murder. She is being held without bail.