- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 10, 2013

Neighbors of a 71-year-old Capitol Heights woman on Sunday were coming to terms with her sudden death, as Prince George’s County investigators continued to search for a person who killed the handicapped senior in her apartment.

Geraldine Joyce McIntyre was a nice woman, albeit a quiet one, who lived in her modest one-story home for years and depended on the kindness of others as she aged, neighbors said. Why someone would harm her and leave her to die is anyone’s guess, they said.

At about 2:30 p.m. Saturday, officers were called to Ms. McIntyre’s home in the 1200 block of Chapel Oaks Drive to check on her, police spokeswoman Cpl. Maria McKinney said. When they arrived, they found the elderly homeowner “suffering from trauma to her upper body.” She was taken to a hospital, but she died of her injuries. Police would not go into detail about what kind of injuries were inflicted on the woman.

Miss Geraldine was a very nice lady with a daughter. It’s so sad,” said Joseph Cromwell, a neighbor who occasionally worked as a handyman for the victim. “It’s shocking to me. How could you do that? It’s got to be somebody in the neighborhood, somebody who knew her.”

On Sunday, several marked and unmarked county police cars were parked along Chapel Oaks Drive, officers in uniform and investigators in dark coats knocking on doors and placing fliers with information about Ms. McIntyre’s death on car windshields. Her home, with a winding wooden ramp out front, was cordoned off with yellow police tape.

As of Sunday, police were working off tips that a potential suspect was seen in the area walking with a black bag. He’s described by police as a black man between the age of 30 and 45 years old, with a slight build, standing between 5-feet-7-inches to 5-feet-9-inches tall.

Marcus Meekins, 21, who lives in the home at the corner of Ms. McIntyre’s street, said the street is normally “really quiet.”

“I’d seen her outside a few times. I knew she couldn’t move well, so I offered to cut the grass,” Mr. Meekins said. “But she had family do that.”

Neighbors said Ms. McIntyre had an adult wheelchair-dependent daughter who was living with her but recently had been hospitalized. The ramp to the home’s front door helped Ms. McIntyre, who relied on a walking cane and scooter, and her daughter to get inside.

Robin Washington, a neighbor of Ms. McIntyre’s for about seven years, said the elderly woman would leave her front door unlocked if she was at home.

Cpl. McKinney could not say if there were signs of forced entry into the home, nor if there were signs of a struggle.

Aside from a quick wave if she was outside, Ms. McIntyre stayed to herself, Ms. Washington said.

“It’s surprising,” she added,” but anything can happen. She’s 70-something, and for someone to come and do this to her, they’re thinking they’ll do what they want and get away with it.”

Mr. Cromwell and his friend and neighbor Henry Murphy said the area has changed in recent years.

Families and seniors who had been living in the area for decades are being replaced by a younger crowd, the men said. Two homes on the same block as Ms. McIntyre have been robbed in the past year.

“The neighborhood has always been nice, but now I don’t know anybody,” Mr. Murphy said.

Mr. Cromwell insisted whoever killed her had to be someone “Miss Geraldine” knew, his voice growing quiet as he considered the attack.

“I could see her saying ‘Why would you do this to me?’”