A Millersville woman's death was ruled a homicide by the state medical examiner's office yesterday, about the time North Carolina authorities located her boyfriend, who had been sought for questioning.
Nancy Susan Kreamer, 44, was found dead Monday morning by her sister, county police said. The cause of death was not released.
Kreamer's boyfriend, Robert Charles Antonelli, 38, was hospitalized yesterday in Northampton County, N.C., and will be held on a 48-hour temporary felony warrant upon his release from the hospital.
"It allows us a little more time to look further into the case," Lt. Joseph Jordan, spokesman for the Anne Arundel County police, said about the warrant. Antonelli has not been charged.
Deputies with the Northampton County Sheriff's Office spotted Antonelli in Kreamer's 2001 Oldsmobile Alero at a rest stop off Interstate 95 just over the Virginia state line. Capt. Daryl Harmon said Antonelli was taken to Halifax Regional Medical Center because he had taken medication.
Kreamer's death comes less than a month after Antonelli admitted in court that he had choked her so hard that he left red handprints around her neck and ruptured a blood vessel in her eye.
Prosecutors had asked for one year of jail time for the September assault, but a Circuit Court judge sentenced Antonelli on Jan. 8 to time served - 58 days at the Jennifer Road Detention Center in Annapolis.
"There's a shroud of sadness in the office today," Kristin Riggin, a spokeswoman for the county state's attorney's office, said of Kreamer's death.
Kreamer, described as petite and outgoing, worked several retail jobs in the area, according to her next-door neighbor in the community of apartments and townhouses on Jeffrey Road.
"She was a good neighbor," said Robin Knight. "Always very nice and talkative."
Kreamer worked at a local 7-Eleven and at Shoppers Food Warehouse in Millersville, acquaintances said. She was divorced late last summer, according to court records, about the time she and Antonelli moved into the Millersville apartment.
Soon after, on Sept. 8, officers were called to the residence for a domestic assault that had occurred a day earlier, according to county police.
A statement of charges filed in the case gives this account:
Antonelli, who had been drinking alcohol, put Kreamer in a rear headlock and pinned her to the floor in the apartment. Kreamer was able to free herself and hide in another room. She called police when Antonelli fell asleep several hours later.
Antonelli was charged with first- and second-degree assault, reckless endangerment and false imprisonment. He was taken to a mental health facility because he said he had taken pills to kill himself, according to court documents, and later was transferred to the county detention center.
The couple apparently reconciled, and on Oct. 28, Kreamer posted bond for Antonelli and allowed him to return to her apartment. A protective order against Antonelli also was terminated at Kreamer's request.
County police officers were called to Kreamer's townhouse three times - twice for reports of domestic assault - near Christmas, according to 911 records.
On Dec. 27, police officers were called to the house for the attempted suicide of a man whose name was not released. The man was taken for an emergency evaluation.
Last month, Antonelli pleaded guilty to second-degree assault charges in the September incident. Prosecutors said they could not prove intent, which is necessary for a first-degree assault conviction, so they dropped the other charges.
Assistant State's Attorney Pamela K. Alban asked that Antonelli serve one year in jail, said Riggin, the spokeswoman for the state's attorney's office.
"We argued for jail time," Riggin said. "We argued for the maximum sentence under the guidelines."
Instead, Judge Joseph P. Manck sentenced Antonelli to two years, suspending all but 58 days and credited Antonelli with time served. The judge also placed him on a three-year supervised probation and ordered him to participate in alcohol and domestic-violence programs.
Manck said yesterday that Kreamer, who he said had posted bond for her boyfriend, had insisted at sentencing that she wanted Antonelli to get help, "and that's what we tried to do."
"This is a sad situation," he said, adding that he had reviewed the case file yesterday morning, upon learning of Kreamer's death. "We do what we think is the right thing at the time."