- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 23, 2009

TOWSON, Md. | A New York tax lawyer beat and asphyxiated his wife and two daughters to death before killing himself in a Maryland hotel room, police said Wednesday, and the FBI revealed that it was investigating the man’s investment dealings.

Police also said William Parente, 59, of Garden City, N.Y., may have answered a phone call to the room from one of his daughters’ friends after the killings Sunday.

The bodies were discovered Monday in a hotel in Towson, a suburb just north of Baltimore. On Wednesday, police revealed some of their findings and named William Parente as the killer of his wife, Betty, 58, and their daughters, 19-year-old Stephanie and 11-year-old Catherine. The couple and their younger daughter were in Maryland to visit Miss Parente, a sophomore at Loyola College in Baltimore.

The cause of death for Mrs. Parente and the daughters was blunt force trauma and asphyxiation, Baltimore County police spokesman Cpl. Mike Hill said. They were found on the bed. He said William Parente died by cutting himself and was found in the bathroom.

Cpl. Hill declined to elaborate on how the man cut himself or how his wife and daughters were asphyxiated.

It appeared that Mrs. Parente died first, Catherine next and Miss Parente died later Sunday afternoon, though the timeline was still under investigation, Cpl. Hill said. There was no sign they had been restrained, and no note was found in the room.

Investigators were unable to conclude whether there was a struggle, whether objects found in the room were used in the killings or whether another object was used and later disposed of, Cpl. Hill said.

Police Chief Jim Johnson said William Parente answered a phone call from Miss Parente’s roommate to the hotel room about midnight, after his wife and daughters are thought to have been killed.

Cpl. Hill said investigators do not have a motive and have not determined whether the deaths were related to any financial problems. “We have not reached that determination, and we may never reach that determination,” he said.

The FBI confirmed Wednesday that it was investigating William Parente.

“We’re looking into Mr. Parente’s investment business dealings,” FBI spokesman James Margolin said in New York. He declined to provide details.

The New York State Attorney General’s Office said it had received a complaint from a man who said he invested hundreds of thousands of dollars with William Parente and had trouble getting his money back.

Spokesman Alex Detrick said the complaint was received Tuesday afternoon, and investigators had yet to determine whether to start a probe.

Bruce Montague, 47, a Queens lawyer, told Newsday that he recently received six checks worth about $450,000 from William Parente.

Mr. Montague said Parente told him that he could deposit two of the checks, but asked him to wait with the others. Mr. Montague said a bank official told him the four others would not clear.

The Parente family members were last seen Sunday afternoon and after the family failed to check out on time, workers at the hotel found the bodies in a 10th-floor guest room Monday afternoon.

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