A 77-year-old Rosedale woman helped solve her own slaying through a "meticulous method" of recording her daily activities, Baltimore County police said yesterday after arresting two suspects.
"If she cooked an egg for breakfast, she would write it down," said Sgt. Kevin B. Novak, a county police spokesman. "If she ran out of milk or ran for groceries, she would write it down."
Police said she also wrote down the name of Anthony Graham, who had used her shovel to clear her sidewalk of snow for $20 -- a shovel that subsequently disappeared.
Last night, Mr. Graham, 37, of the 2200 block of Odell Ave. was in custody with Clyde Nathaniel Macklin, 37, of the 2100 block of Odell Ave. -- both charged with first-degree murder in the suffocation last weekend of Hedwig Krezwinski Samelko.
The men, whose addresses are just across the city line near the victim's home, were ordered held without bail.
Mrs. Samelko's body was found in her bedroom about 7 p.m. Monday by her nephew -- a county police detective who had been unable to reach her by telephone.
Police said robbery appeared to be the motive, judging by signs of ransacking and a struggle in the bedroom of the home, where she lived alone in the 1700 block of Summit Ave. An autopsy Tuesday determined that Mrs. Samelko had been suffocated, police said.
An undetermined amount of money had been taken from a plastic zippered pouch that was next to the victim's head, court records show.
No sign of forced entry was apparent, but a rear door was found unlocked.
Police believed that she might have been killed Saturday because her nephew tried unsuccessfully to call her several times over the weekend.
Stolen snow shovel
Detectives Philip G. Marll and James W. Tincher were able to track down the suspects when the victim's nephew told them his aunt had a shovel stolen recently after she had paid a man to shovel the sidewalk.
A piece of paper with the man's name, address and phone number was found in Mrs. Samelko's home -- identifying Mr. Graham, according to a statement of charges filed in Towson District Court.
Police said a witness also was able to place Mr. Graham in the neighborhood on the day of the slaying. Questioned by police Wednesday, Mr. Graham became "very emotional" and experienced "outbursts of crying" over "the little old lady," according to the document.
FBI receives tip
About the same time, FBI agents received a tip from a woman who said her boyfriend had told her he knew of a possible suspect in the slaying. Police checking out the name found the man had been in custody since Jan. 16 and could not have been involved in the crime.
But police found their second suspect when FBI agents brought in the tipster and her boyfriend -- Mr. Macklin -- for questioning.
Mr. Macklin was arrested Wednesday afternoon, and Mr. Graham was picked up yesterday.
Sergeant Novak said it was "extreme good fortune" that Mrs. Samelko documented her actions, giving a boost to the "extensive investigative work" that helped bring about the arrests.