- The Washington Times - Monday, November 29, 2004

NANTUCKET, Mass. (AP) — To friends, Elizabeth Lochtefeld’s new life on this exclusive island looked like a smashing success.

She was back among family, after 20 years in New York. She had money from the sale of her share of an architectural consulting business she started and, at 44, a new boyfriend from the big city.

But almost as quickly as her romance with the former bank executive blossomed, it fell apart. Relatives say Miss Lochtefeld went to New York last month to end it and returned scared.

Within days, she was found fatally stabbed in her rented Nantucket bungalow — the first slaying on the island in 21 years.

Last week, her ex-boyfriend, Thomas Toolan III, pleaded not guilty to murder as Miss Lochtefeld’s stunned family and friends looked on.

“It was like watching the opening act of a play,” the victim’s brother, Peter Lochtefeld, 45, said of the 10-minute proceeding. The sight of the strapping 37-year-old Mr. Toolan in a business suit and handcuffs drew gasps from some in the crowded courtroom.

The day before the slaying, Mr. Toolan tried to smuggle a large kitchen knife in his coat pocket onto a plane at New York’s LaGuardia Airport, according to authorities. It was confiscated, he received a misdemeanor summons to appear in court, and he was let go. Reports said he bought a knife on the island the next day.

Elizabeth Lochtefeld only moved to Nantucket earlier this year but had spent many summers with her family there. She quickly won friends with her engaging personality. Her family is well known on the island, where her father, John, owns an art gallery.

In the aftermath of the Oct. 25 slaying and Mr. Toolan’s arrest hours later in Rhode Island on a drunken-driving charge, some islanders told Police Chief William Pittman they would now be locking their doors.

“They’ve been dealing with big-city issues for some time but they haven’t come to grips with something like this,” Chief Pittman said.

Miss Lochtefeld’s family and friends said there were no clear warning signs until the weekend before she was killed.

The couple began dating around Labor Day. A few weeks later, Miss Lochtefeld was introducing her new beau to friends.

“She was excited. They really clicked,” said Sara Boyce, who owns a Nantucket art gallery.

Gene Mahon, 58, met Mr. Toolan at a concert on the island last month and thought then that Miss Lochtefeld’s stay on Nantucket might be brief. Mr. Mahon, whose business specializes in art reproductions and sign-making, said Miss Lochtefeld was planning to help him open a nightclub. But seeing how happy she appeared with Miss Toolan, “I thought, ‘Oh my God, I wonder if we’ve lost her to New York,’” he said.

But Mr. Toolan had a checkered past: He was arrested in 2001 and accused of slipping an $80,000 marble bust under his coat at a Park Avenue antiques show. He later pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and soon after was asked to leave his job as a vice president at Citigroup.

The relationship unraveled quickly. According to Miss Boyce, Miss Lochtefeld was concerned Mr. Toolan was moving too quickly. “She said, ‘He’s already talking rings,’” Miss Boyce said.

Peter Lochtefeld said that after his sister went to New York to end the relationship, she was held hostage one night but slipped out when Mr. Toolan fell asleep.

She stopped at the Nantucket police station two days before her death to inquire about a restraining order but never filed for one, police said.

“She did mention an ex-boyfriend she was breaking up with,” the police chief said.

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