An elderly Cherry Hill woman was stabbed to death with a kitchen knife yesterday morning and her husband, who neighbors said was battling cancer, was later treated for self-inflicted knife wounds, authorities said.
Authorities have not charged 89-year-old Aleksander Dziarski in the death his wife, Maria Gniotek, 77, but said that there is "no indication that a third party was involved in the killing."
Gniotek was found in her Longwood Avenue home, near Route 38, about 11:30 a.m. Dziarski, a former Philadelphia resident, also was found in the home and was being treated last night at Cooper University Hospital, in Camden.
Cherry Hill police said that their department had "no prior contact" with the couple. Jason Laughlin, a spokesman for the Camden County Prosecutor's Office, said that investigators were looking into whether the couple had argued before the stabbings.
Neighbor Sophia March said that an argument would have been out of character for both Dziarski and Gniotek.
"They are very happy people," said March, a native of Greece. "She is very good person. She never had problem with her husband."
March said Gniotek and Dziarski married about 10 years ago, which, according to tax documents, is about the same time they bought the modest rancher for $85,000. The home sits next to a law office and a McDonald's, and is about 50 yards from busy Route 38.
March said that Gniotek had been taking care of Dziarski but still had time to help March with her English.
In turn, March would help the couple with chores around their house. Bags of leaves and twigs she gathered in the couple's yard still sat on the lawn yesterday afternoon as a Cherry Hill police cruiser sat in the driveway.
"He was so very sick," said March.
Despite Dziarski's illness, Laughlin said, investigators do not believe the incident was a "mercy killing."
March said Gniotek had two sons from a previous marriage who live in California, and Dziar-ski has two daughters from a previous marriage who live in Pennsylvania. None could be reached for comment.
Other neighbors on the street declined to comment. Some said they didn't know the couple.
"My brother left for work at 10 a.m. and he didn't hear anything," said neighbor Anna Marie Wister.
March said that she saw a small body bag being brought out of the house after police arrived, and knew it was Gniotek.
"I don't understand," she said, clenching her hands. "He was happy. He read the Bible. We don't control our devils."