A bouquet of flowers was placed the front steps of the 3,100-square-foot home, which was built in 2006 and purchased for $759,700, according to state property records.

Bill Harrison, who worked with Lane at Lee & Associates in Columbia, said he believed Lane and his daughter were "very close."

"He would help her with her homework, he would take her hiking. I never heard him say a bad word about the child," Harrison said. "He never shared with me anything that would have led to me believe that such violence could've happened."

Lane had joint custody of Arnold with her mother, an arrangement worked out in court in 2009, records show. Harrison said Arnold would live with Lane during the week, and stay with her mother on weekends. Harrison also said that Lane was engaged to be married and that he owned the home with his fiancee.

A woman at the home Friday declined to comment, asking for privacy.

Howard County Council member Courtney Watson said Lane was "very well-known and very well-respected," and was a friend to "many, many people in the Howard County community."

"It's going to take some time to make sense of it, if one can make sense of it," she said.

David Bittner, who produces the "And Then There's That ..." podcast, said he was packing up to record one at the Mall in Columbia on Friday when Lane's co-host, Paul Skalny, called him with the news. Lane and Skalny had been co-hosting the podcast every other Friday for nearly four years.

"We are all just so sad that, just so sad that he's gone. I can't believe it," Bittner said.

Skalny remembered his friend as someone with an infectious personality.

"He's one of those people that lights up a room," Skalny said. "You meet him, and you feel like he cares about you and what you have to say. On the other hand, he wasn't swayed by what other people thought of him. He had tremendous convictions and wasn't scared of what other people may say about him. He went with his gut and what he thought was right."

Jessie Newburn, founder of the blogging community HoCoBlogs, said Lane's death meant "the passing of a really important, iconic person in our community." Newburn started the online community in 2008, and Lane was one of the first dozen or so bloggers, she said. Now, the community has about 350 members.

"As a blogger and a person, Dennis found this magical balance beam to walk," said Newburn, who has known Lane for more than 20 years. "He was concurrently on the inner circles of institutional knowledge and people trusted him. He also lived his life and wrote his blog the way he wanted to."

A disclaimer at the bottom of Lane's blog explained his approach: "If the content presented here offends you in some way you are probably taking yourself too seriously. If it is journalism that you are looking for, buy a newspaper."

Newburn said she was "always in awe" of Lane's tenacity.

"He had people he didn't care for, and people who didn't care for him, but he made no bones about it," she said. "He was very fair and willing to admit when he was wrong. He was a model in the blogging community. There's no one like him in terms of what he did."

Horizon Foundation spokesman Ian Kennedy, a former blogger, said Lane went with his gut but could admit when he was wrong. Kennedy and Lane became friends, frequently having lunch together and bonding over common interests, like their dogs. Lane's death, Kennedy said, hasn't sunk in.

"He was our storyteller," Kennedy said. "He knew Howard County's history and he was involved in its present. This is a huge loss."

A photograph that appeared on the front page of Saturday’s print editions of The Baltimore Sun was not of Dennis Lane, the Ellicott City blogger who was found killed in his home on Friday. A correct photo appears with the online article.

Sun reporters Jessica Anderson, Ian Duncan and Pamela Wood contributed to this article.

jfenton@baltsun.com


  • Text NEWS to 70701 to get Baltimore Sun local news text alerts