Maryland State Police investigating apparent double murder-suicide

GENERIC police line do not cross tape

Pocomoke, MD — Maryland State Police detectives are releasing the names of the victims in an apparent double murder-suicide. Police say they found three people dead in a Worcester County home Tuesday morning.

Maryland State Police identified the victims as Marvin Wilmer Purnell, 78, and Karen E. Purnell, 53. They also identified the suspect as 46-year-old Marvin Desmond Purnell. Medics pronounced him dead at the scene.

State Police said the initial call came in Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. from a friend of Karen, who had not heard from her in some time.  According to Maryland State Police Sgt. DaVaughn Parke,  Worcester Sheriff’s Department deputies showed up at the 2200-block of Groton Road in Pocomonke, MD,  and found the home secure and without any signs of forced entry.  Deputies said they tried to make contact with someone inside the home  and heard a voice of a man. According to the press release deputies tried to get the man to open the door but he failed to comply with commands.

Deputies were able to find a key and got inside the home. Once inside they found two decomposing bodies on the kitchen floor. They found the third body in a hallway opposite to the kitchen, which was later positively identified as Marvin Desmond.

For about an hour, deputies said they tried to contact Marvin Desmond by cell phone and loud speaker.  State Police said deputies deployed a CS gas canister through the window which started a fire.  Firefighters were called to put out the fire and pulled out the body of Marvin Desmond and found a rifle under him.  The medical examiner said Marvin Desmond died of a single gunshot wound.

Both of the victims’ bodies will be transported to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Baltimore for an autopsy.  Investigators anticipate the autopsy will verify the cause and manner of death.