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Mother, daughter killed hours before husband's funeral in Aberdeen

Maryland Mysteries: Maxa Road Murders
Posted at 5:55 PM, Nov 15, 2018

It was game three -- The Oakland Athletics were up two games against the San Francisco Giants in the 1989 World Series when an earthquake shook the stadium minutes before players took the field. 

Across the country in Harford County, Churchville specifically, during that exact same time, Ann Furst was saying goodby to her husband Rudolf. 

He died the day before after a bout with cancer. 

She and her family hosted a wake. 

"Probably spent about an hour, hour and a half. So around 10, 10:30 p.m., everybody kind of remembers they left to go back from Churchville to Aberdeen. So they drove from Churchville to Aberdeen, we're guessing about a half-hour transfer to get them there; pull in and begin their night time ritual to get ready," Det. Tammy Burns, with the Harford County Sheriff's Office's criminal investigation division, said. 

She's been the lead detective on the case since 2015. 

Burns says Ann and her daughter Helen made it to the family's home on Maxa Road; in for the night after the long day. 

Rudolf's funeral was in the morning so Ann went to bed and Helen stayed up to watch some TV and enjoy a nightcap. 

Then suddenly, a brick came flying through the back door. 

"So either it was a loud popping, a loud bang, or glass breaking -- it's the description that we pick up from every neighbor. Then after the glass breaks, a female screams. Neighbors all flip on the lights because in 1989 that's what you would do is you would look around, you didn't jump to call 911. You'd do the investigation yourself," Burns said. 

But police weren't called...until the next morning. 

The rest of Helen's family came down from Connecticut for the funeral. 

Her daughter, Maribeth, who was 19 at the time remembers the day vividly. 

"I remember walking in and finding them. I remember arriving at the house and not being able to get in -- knocking on the door. My father asked my brother to go around the back," she said. 

And what he found was gruesome. 

"I saw them. I remember seeing my mother. She was sitting in a chair up against the wall and she had been beaten in the head. So I do recall seeing that. Very quickly, my father got us out of the house," Maribeth remembered. 

Ann and Helen were beaten to death. 

The lights in the home were still on and the family found shattered glass at the foot of the back door. 

"Mrs. Ann, who was 83 years old, was found right inside the door on the ground, hit several times in the head. We're not sure what the weapon was. The weapon was not left on the scene," Burns said. 

Aberdeen police were the first to respond, but Harford County sheriff's investigators were quickly on scene and determined nothing was taken, ruling out a robbery. 

What's worse, investigators say, is that there wasn't one drop of the killer's DNA left behind. 

"My mom was the sweetest, nicest woman ever. She was an artist. She worked with young kids in day cares. So it's just hard to fathom how someone can just come in, or maybe more than one person, and do something like that," Maribeth said. 

For Maribeth, who lives in Ohio now, tracking down who killed her mother and grandmother the day before her grandfather's funeral has been a search she says she's taken on, at times, alone. 

And it's a mystery puzzling the sheriff's office who've been using that memorable night in 1989 to try and track down their killer. 

"So the person coming...did they come ot kill Anna nd then unluckily Helen was there? Possibly. There's literally no answer on why it happened. There's no suspects we have in mind currently," Burns said. 

If you can help in this case, you're asked to call the Harford County Sheriff's Office at (410) 838-6600.