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News Maryland Baltimore County

4 found dead in Towson hotel room

The bodies of four relatives were found Monday behind the locked door of a Towson hotel room in what Baltimore County police are investigating as a possible murder-suicide.

Staff at the Sheraton Baltimore North found the bodies of a man, two women and a teenage girl on the 10th floor, according to police, who said the four were not from the area. Police were withholding their names until relatives could be contacted.

A Mercedes-Benz sport utility vehicle with New York tags was towed with a police escort Monday evening from a hotel parking lot.

Police did not say how the four died - or whether there were any signs of injuries. But Baltimore County police spokesman Cpl. Michael Hill said, "It's fair to say they did not die of natural causes."

Autopsies were to be performed Tuesday.

The discovery came two days after five members of a Frederick County family were found dead in an apparent murder-suicide.

A housekeeper at the Towson Sheraton, which is near the Towson Town Center mall, attempted to enter the room about 3 p.m. but could not get through the locked door and alerted hotel staff, said Bill Toohey, another county police spokesman.

The room's occupants had failed to check out as scheduled, Hill said. He wasn't sure whether all four had been hotel guests.

A county forensics team was working in the room Monday, and yellow crime-scene tape was visible in the corridor outside the room.

Guests were cleared from the 10th floor. The bodies were removed from the room Monday night.

The 280-room hotel on Dulaney Valley Road just inside the Baltimore Beltway is near Goucher College. No students live at the hotel, and police did not contact the college, Goucher President Sanford Unger said.

K.C. Kavanagh, a spokeswoman for Sheraton Hotels and Resorts, said Sheraton Baltimore North is a franchise property owned by GF Hotels. "This is just a terrible tragedy, and our team is terribly saddened by this event," Kavanagh said. "We're doing all we can to assist the police, and it's a matter that's in their hands at this time."

Officials for Philadelphia-based GF Hotels could not be reached for comment.

On Saturday, the bodies of a man, his wife and their three young children were found in their home in the Frederick County community of Middletown. The father apparently killed the four others and then shot himself, according to authorities.

Police say five handwritten notes found at the scene seemed to indicate the father suffered from psychological problems.

At the Sheraton in Towson, many hotel guests and visitors were unaware of Monday's discovery. Ray Shettle of Westminster was not staying in the hotel but went to the bar for a drink. He said he had heard about the multiple bodies in the hotel room.

"It's not strange anymore, not after this weekend. It's sad," Shettle said.

It was the second time in little more than a year that multiple bodies were found in an area hotel room.

In March 2008, three children were drowned in a bathtub in a 10th-floor room at the Baltimore Marriott Inner Harbor at Camden Yards.

The children's father, Mark Castillo of Montgomery County, was arrested and is awaiting trial on three counts of first-degree murder. Authorities say he killed his children, ages 6, 4 and 2, as revenge in a custody battle with his estranged wife.

Baltimore Sun reporters Arin Gencer and Frank D. Roylance and the Associated Press contributed to this article.

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