Mother, son suicides baffle police and family

By yesterday afternoon, state medical examiners concluded what Baltimore County police already suspected: Ruhama Jane Murphy, 44, and her son, Larry Bruce Price, 22, committed suicide in a Washington Boulevard motel room.

But no one seemed to know why.


"We don't know," said Mary Lou Fisher, Mrs. Murphy's mother. "We just don't know . . . and I'll probably never know why."

Police found Mrs. Murphy and her son about 6:15 p.m. Monday in the bathroom of a locked motel room. The pair checked into the room Sunday night, said E. Jay Miller, county police spokesman.


Motel employees called police Monday because they couldn't get into the room, and the occupants did not respond to knocks at the door.

Police found Mrs. Murphy in the bathtub, her son on the bathroom floor. They were dressed and had slashed their wrists. Mrs. Murphy also had cut her neck. Each had written a suicide note. Police said a razor caused the self-inflicted wounds.

Police did not say what was in the suicide notes, but Mr. Miller and detectives said they did not explain why mother and son chose to commit suicide together.

"As to why, we don't know," said Detective Dean Brubaker, a homicide investigator, who also said he'd never seen a case like this before.

Mrs. Fisher said her daughter seemed fine when she last spoke with her two weeks ago. She said her daughter grew up in Lansdowne and attended Western High in Baltimore.

Mrs. Murphy, of the 800 block of S. Kenwood Ave. in East Baltimore, was unemployed. Her son lived with his paternal grandparents in the 12000 block of Buttonwood Lane in Essex. The grandparents did not want to talk to a reporter yesterday.

Services for Mrs. Murphy have been scheduled for noon Friday at the McCully Funeral Home, 237 E. Patapsco Ave. She will be buried in Cedar Hill Cemetery, in the 5800 block of Ritchie Highway. Friends may visit the McCully Funeral Home tomorrow between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. and between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m.

No funeral information was available for Mr. Price.