Updated: Police Identify Three People Dead in Pocomoke City Murd - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Updated: Police Identify Three People Dead in Pocomoke City Murder-Suicide

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Three people have died in what Maryland State Police are calling a murder-suicide in Pocomoke City. (Photo: WBOC) Three people have died in what Maryland State Police are calling a murder-suicide in Pocomoke City. (Photo: WBOC)

POCOMOKE CITY, Md.- Three people have died in what Maryland State Police are calling a murder-suicide in Pocomoke City.

Policed identified the victims as Marvin Wilmer Purnell, 78, and Karen E. Purnell, 53, of the 2200 block of Groton Road in Pocomoke City.  Both of the victims’ bodies will be transported to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Baltimore for an autopsy.  Investigators said they anticipate the autopsy will verify the cause and manner of death.

The suspect is identified as Marvin Desmond Purnell, 46, also of the 2200 block of Groton Road in Pocomoke City. He was pronounced deceased at the scene.

Police said that shortly after 10:30 a.m. Monday, deputies from the Worcester Sheriff’s Office responded to a call at the Purnell home to check on the welfare of Karen. Investigators said Karen’s friend had not heard from her for some time and went to the Purnell home. Karen’s friend contacted the Worcester County Sheriff's Office after receiving no answer and smelling a very strong disturbing odor coming from the home, authorities said.

When deputies arrived at the home, they found it to be secure from the outside, with no signs of forced entry. Deputies attempted to make contact with someone inside the home. As deputies continued attempts to make contact they heard the voice of a man, later identified as Marvin Desmond Purnell. Deputies asked him to open the door but he refused, investigators said.

Deputies attempted to contact Marvin Desmond Purnell by cellphone and loudspeaker.  The efforts continued for approximately one hour. Deputies deployed a CS gas canister through a window located on the west end of the home in an attempt to force any occupant out of the home. As a result of the CS canister being deployed a fire ignited in the home. The Pocomoke Fire Department responded to the scene to extinguish the fire.

Deputies and firefighters entered the home and extricated the body of Marvin Desmond Purnell.  A rifle was located beneath his body. Examination of Marvin Desmond Purnell revealed what appeared to be a single gunshot wound. The other bodies were recovered shortly after.

The Maryland State Police Homicide Unit was requested to respond and take the lead on this investigation. Additional assistance is being provided by State Police Criminal Enforcement Division investigators and the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office.

 

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