The owners of a house in Baltimore's Hunting Ridge neighborhood discovered the body of a real estate agent less than a hour after they left her in their home with a man who had seemed to be a potential buyer, city police reported.
The victim, Lynne McCoy, 57, of the 500 block of Chapelgate Lane, was apparently beaten to death. Her body was stuffed into an upstairs closet of the two-story, red brick home in the 800 block of Glen Allen Drive. Police said Mrs. McCoy's emerald green, four-door, Chrysler New Yorker was missing and presumably stolen by her killer.
Mrs. McCoy was the city's 341st murder victim in a record-breaking year for homicides. Last year, 335 were slain in Baltimore.
About noon yesterday, Mrs. McCoy, an agent with O'Conor, Piper and Flynn in Columbia, gave the man a tour of the house, while the homeowners were still inside. A short while later, as the owner and his wife were leaving, the man asked for a second view of the second-floor area of the house, said city police spokesman Sam Ringgold.
Shortly before 1 p.m., the couple returned and found the victim's body.
Detectives combed the neighborhood in search of witnesses and evidence. The murder weapon, a blunt object, was not found, Mr. Ringgold said.
Mrs. McCoy lived in Ten Hills, a West Baltimore community adjacent to Hunting Ridge. Mr. Ringgold said Mrs. McCoy had sold several houses in Hunting Ridge, a quiet, middle-class community where she was well known.
Mrs. McCoy, who was associated with the real estate firm for 20 years, would sometimes come to headquarters to assist her husband Robert, a department manager, or fill in for him when DTC he was ill, said James P. O'Conor, chairman of the board at O'Conor, Piper and Flynn.
"It's a very horrendous loss for her family, and we are part of her family," Mr. O'Conor said. It's "just a terrible loss. She was just a beautiful person -- bright, uplifting, with a positive attitude on life."
He said Mrs. McCoy had the added pressure of helping her husband after his health failed. Mr. O'Conor said she had tended her husband yesterday before she went to work.
"She was very successful in her own right and, as you are finding out, was beloved in the industry," Mr. O'Conor said.
"It's a stunning loss," said Al Cooke, a longtime friend and co-worker. "She was such a nice, all-around person -- just the kind of person you want to know in this business. She did all the right things."
An avid gardener, Mrs. McCoy raised "hundreds and hundreds of flowers in her garden and would bring them into the office and put them on agents' desks in January and February," Mr. Cooke said.
Active in the Howard County Association of Realtors, Mrs. McCoy served as chairman last year of the association's equal opportunities committee.
"She was very strong anti-crime, anti-gun," Mr. Cooke said. "A strong believer in Baltimore City who had lived there for years and was not about to move out."
Del. James W. Campbell, D-Baltimore, called Mrs. McCoy's death "a real tragedy of the times." Mr. Campbell, who has known Mrs. McCoy for about 11 years, would often speak with her at political meetings in his district. "She was real interested in the community and what she could do to make it better."
Mrs. McCoy was also active in St. Bartholomew's Episcopal Church. "It's such a shock," said Theodore F. Stromberg, who has been in the real estate business 50 years and worked with the McCoys in Howard County since 1963.
"It's a big scare for us in the industry, male or female. You don't know who you're taking out [to show houses]. . . .It's not something agents talk about, but it's there all the time. It's a scare all over the country," he said, adding: "It's just one fine person we've lost -- a person who just helps everybody and was a real top sales person."