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Police Seek Help in Murder Investigation

January 10, 2012

Baltimore police made a rare appeal yesterday for the media’s help in a murder investigation, and offered a $2,000 reward for tips called into the department’s hotline.

The murder of Mary Hines, an 84-year-old retired school principal, has saddened and outraged the community. Hines was found dead on the morning of Jan. 5 after a fire destroyed her home, where she had reportedly been living without electricity. Medical examiners discovered that she had been stabbed.

“Right now, we’re looking for any help we can get from the community,” Det. Joshua Ellsworth, the lead investigator in the case, told a gaggle of TV and print reporters as uniformed police and detectives knocked on doors in and around the 2600 block of East Biddle Street.

A police spokesman said two shifts of detectives, a total of about 20 police officers, would be fanning out across the neighborhood yesterday.

The street was quiet as police did their work on Monday afternoon. Children spoke eagerly with anyone who happened by, adults walked by, some with babies in strollers, and told reporters that the murder was tragic. State Sen. Nathaniel J. McFadden (D-45th District), who lives nearby, walked the block and wished the police investigators well.

Police declined to comment about rumors that Hines was estranged from a nephew, and that she would never have allowed anyone she did not know well into her house. The house next door to Hines’ burned in November, according to police and neighbors. There are several other boarded homes on the block.

Police seemed optimistic that people would talk. “Mrs. Hines was loved and respected by every person we’ve spoken with,” Ellsworth said.  “This is a human being that no one has had a negative thing to say about.”

Anyone with information about the case is asked to call 1-866-7LOCKUP, go to or text “MCS” (plus your message) to 274637.

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