The discovery of a woman's body Friday afternoon in a Kensington house drew a swift response from the task force investigating the Kensington Strangler, but police said it was too early to know if there was a connection, or even if the woman was murdered.
The body of a young white woman was discovered inside a two-story rowhouse in the 2800 block of North C Street near Kensington Avenue around 4 p.m., police said. Officials said they were waiting for a medical examiner to determine the cause of death.
In recent weeks, police believe, one man may have sexually assaulted and murdered three women and attacked others. Elaine Goldberg, 21, Nicole Piacentini, 35, and Casey Mahoney, 27, were all found partially nude in abandoned lots in the neighborhood.
On Friday evening, police sealed off C Street to traffic and officers from the Crime Scene Unit carried out paper bags full of evidence.
City records show the house is owned by Lawrence Hollman. Neighbors, who know him only as Larry, said he is in his 60s, lives alone except for two pet Chihuahuas, and would let people stay at his house, possibly charging them by the day or for shorter periods.
His wife died several years ago, said Vanessa Gonzalez, 19. A few months ago, his water was shut off and he survived off of buckets of water from neighbors.
Nicole Sánchez, 17, said Larry came to her family's house "crying, saying he didn't do it."
Larry explained that a man and a woman in her early 20s were dropped off Thursday night by another man who then drove away, Sánchez said.
Sánchez said Larry told her that the man and woman stayed upstairs overnight and may have been using drugs.
About 11:30 a.m. Friday, the man left the house and told Larry the woman was still asleep on the first floor.
When Larry checked on her, she was unresponsive. He placed a blanket over the woman's body and called 911, Sánchez said.
"He don't mess with nobody," Sánchez said. "He's a quiet guy."
The house is located a few blocks from the Somerset stop of the El running above Kensington Avenue. The area is a magnet for drug addicts and the dealers who supply them.
A total of $37,000 in reward money is being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the strangler.