School cleaning woman found slain Calverton Middle is scene of crime

A school cleaning woman was fatally stabbed in the chest and throat yesterday afternoon after she apparently interrupted a burglary at Calverton Middle School, Baltimore police said.

The intruder repeatedly stabbed Earlene McFadden, 58, who had been on the schools' custodial staff for 18 years, after she walked into one of the classrooms about 5 p.m. and found the man hiding there, said homicide detective Errol Etting.


"It was an unprovoked attack; there was no reason he had to attack her," Detective Etting said. "She was a slight woman, so he could havejust brushed past her and gotten out of the place. I don't know whether he just panicked or was on drugs."

Mrs. McFadden screamed and was heard by another custodial worker and a teacher in a nearby room, police said. They rushed to the classroom and as they saw Mrs. McFadden bleeding on the floor, they saw a small man about 5 feet, 4 inches tall running out, carrying a knife. The killer was described as being in his late teens or early 20s, weighing approximately 140 pounds, and was wearing a blue sweater and a blue knit cap.


The man ran toward a stairway and had escaped by the time police arrived at the school, located in the 1100 block of Whitmore Ave. Officers combed through the building with a canine unit, but the man already had left the building, police said.

Mrs. McFadden was taken to the Maryland Shock Trauma Center, where she was pronounced dead at 5:40 p.m.

Detective Etting said it appears Ms. McFadden startled the burglar. The man either had hidden inside the school at closing time or had broken in, he said.

"We don't know for sure, but it's a safe bet to assume he was in there intent on committing some kind of theft," Detective Etting said.

The mother of three children, Mrs. McFadden lived in the 2000 block of Hollins St. Her husband, Leroy McFadden, said last night he was shocked and confused as to why anyone would have stabbed her.

"She never gave anyone any problems; there was no reason for someone to do that to her," Mr. McFadden said. "She went to work and was stabbed to death. That shouldn't happen."

Anyone with any information is asked to call the homicide unit at 396-2100.