- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Fairfax County police said yesterday they think the same person is responsible for killing two women in their Springfield homes since August.

“The link basically is we have two females, elderly senior citizens of the county that have been brutally murdered,” said Capt. Michael Spradlin, commander of the Major Crimes Division.

Capt. Spradlin would not speculate on a motive in either case, and he would not say whether police have any evidence linking the crimes. He said that police think the killer was someone with ties to the Crestwood and Edsall Park communities, where the women lived.

Police also said yesterday that they are looking for a custom-made diamond ring that investigators say one of the women was wearing when she was killed.

Marion Newman, 74, was found dead Nov. 21 inside her home in the 7100 block of Reservoir Road by a friend at about 11:15 a.m. She had missed a dinner appointment a day earlier.

Police said there was no sign of forced entry into Mrs. Newman’s home, but there were signs of a struggle.

Her killing came three months after Marion Barbara Marshall, 72, was found slain inside her home two miles away in the 6600 block of Bostwick Drive. A friend found Mrs. Marshall dead in her home Aug. 14 at about 6:10 p.m.

Surveillance photos showed that Mrs. Marshall was at the Giant Food store in the Bradlick Shopping Center at 6980 Braddock Road at about 11:15 a.m. Aug. 14, police said.

Autopsies revealed that both women had been beaten to death.

Capt. Spradlin said yesterday that police are looking for a custom-made ring that they think Mrs. Newman was wearing when she was killed that detectives could not locate.

“It was her routine to wear the ring,” he said. “We believe the perpetrator of this crime removed this ring for gain. He’s looking to move the ring, make a profit, we’re assuming.”

The ring is described as white gold with a three-diamond setting. The diamonds are side by side, and there is a leaf design in the band.

“Somebody, I feel, has seen this ring,” Capt. Spradlin said. “I really do believe the individual who committed this murder or murders has given this ring or traded this ring somewhere. Enough time has gone by that I think it’s out there somewhere.”

He described the slayings as crimes of opportunity and said he did not think that robbery was the main motive because several other items of value were left untouched at Mrs. Newman’s house.

He said police were unable to determine whether anything of value had been taken from Mrs. Marshall.

Capt. Spradlin said that similarities between the women were just a “good coincidence.” The women were about the same age, shared the same first name and resembled each other. He also said police did not have any indication that the women knew each other.

The families of the two women have posted a $26,000 reward for information.

Capt. Spradlin asked anyone with information about the ring or about anyone they think might be involved in the crime to call police at 703/691-2131 or Crime Solvers at 1-866/411-TIPS.

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