A 26-year-old woman was charged this week with murdering her 92-year-old Maryland housemate — who was a longtime family friend and an award-winning sculptor, according to police and reports.
Julia Birch allegedly twice admitted to police on Wednesday that she killed Nancy Ann Frankel at their shared home in Kensington, according to the Montgomery County Police Department.
Frankel’s body was found inside the house by officers who responded there at about 8:20 a.m. after Birch called 911 to report the death, police said.
Police did not reveal how Frankel died, but according to charging documents cited by The Washington Post, she was allegedly suffocated.
Birch moved in with Frankel several months ago in what the victim’s family considered a mutually beneficial living situation.
“Even in our wildest imagination, no one would have ever ever ever thought this could possibly happen,” Bill Streit, Frankel’s 66-year-old son-in-law, told the newspaper.
Streit said Birch was acquainted with their family since she was a child.
“We watched her grow up,” he said.
One of Frankel’s neighbors, Julia Yost, told The Daily Beast that the elderly woman “was a wonderful person” who frequently displayed her artwork in the yard.
Frankel, according to her website, was represented by Studio Gallery in Washington, DC.
“She was a great contributor to our artistic community here at the Studio Gallery, and she’ll be missed greatly,” director Kelly Bresnowitz told The Daily Beast.
“Our last show with her was this past January, and having her work here was amazing.”