Horse farm owners slain


The owners of a horse farm were found slain today at their home in a remote area near Patapsco Valley State Park and Interstate 70 in Baltimore County.

John George Dietz and his wife, Lillian Ann, both 63, had each been shot once and were found in a bedroom of their secluded brick, ranch-style home in the 7700 block of Inwood Ave., said Baltimore County police at Woodlawn.

There were no signs of forced entry or ransacking of the house, police said.

"It's looking . . . less like a robbery, and it looks like somebody did it for personal reasons," said Sgt. Stephen R. Doarnburger.

Police discovered the bodies shortly before 1 a.m. after responding to a report that the couple had not been seen since late Wednesday evening.

Police cordoned off the area and were searching for evidence.

Police said a young woman who lives in a farm house at the estate and is employed to care for the horses went to the house about 10 o'clock last night, knocked on the doors and windows, then notified police when she received no answer.

The woman told police it was unusual for the couple not to be home at that time.

The house, hidden by woods, is at the end of a narrow road about a quarter-mile off Inwood Avenue. The site is about 200 yards from the park, between I-70 and U.S. 40 and near the Woodbridge Valley development and Inwood Shopping Center.

Investigators forced their way into the house after they were unable to notify relatives in the area.

After officers entered the house, they found the couple dead in a bedroom. Mrs. Dietz was found lying on the bed, Mr. Dietz on the floor near the bed. Both were dressed in night clothes.

Police would not disclose where the bullet wounds were.

Police said a red 1986 Camaro with racing stripes belonging to Mr. Dietz was reported missing from the driveway. The car has handicapped Maryland license tags, number 08733.

Police declined to comment on how long the couple had been dead. A neighbor said Mr. Dietz was an autoworker who retired recently after he suffered two heart attacks. Mrs. Dietz had diabetes.

John Ring, another neighbor of the slain couple, said a son and daughter had lived on the property, which has at least three houses, including the caretaker's.

Both of the couple's children had moved out of the house within the past 18 months, with the daughter moving to New York and son living in the Baltimore County area, Doarnburger said.

Ring said he last saw the elder Mr. Dietz about a week ago, but saw the victim's son, John G. Dietz Jr., Saturday morning while Ring cleared three trees that had fallen near the roadway during the recent windstorm.

Police said the son was at the house with them later this morning. It was not immediately known if the son and daughter were on the property when police found the bodies.

Police said the son had lived in the house with the victims until last year, when he was told to leave after he had numerous arguments with Mr. Dietz.

Ring said he saw the slain man's son drive off between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. Saturday.

Doarnburger said no arrests have been made and no suspects are in custody. He said questioning anyone -- including relatives and neighbors -- is in the preliminary stages.

Ring said the Dietz couple often stabled riding horses on their property of several acres. He said he considered them "pleasant, hard-working people."

Ring said he had heard nothing over the past few days that might be considered suspicious.

"Back here," he said, "anything could happen in one of the houses and no one would know about it for a long time."

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