A discovery made by funeral home staff helped to put a 32-year-old Baltimore man behind bars for strangling his mother.
Erich Justin Kuhn was charged Thursday with first and second-degree murder, as reported by The Baltimore Sun.
His mother, Cathy Kuhn, was found dead by her husband Michael Kuhn on Wednesday, according to police spokesman Ctp. Jarron Jackson.
Police did not initially suspect foul play because there “were not apparent” signs of trauma on the victim, and medical examiners chose not to examine the body because of this conclusion.
Bradley Kuhn, Erich’s brother, said that his father was put on the phone at the scene with someone from the medical examiner’s office. The person on the phone told Kuhn that his wife had died from natural causes. Bradley didn’t buy this, however, because Cathy was in good health.
“Obviously, my father was distraught and unable to process the information he was being told. He was relying on the professionals around him … to make the right determination.”
Spokesman for the medical examiner’s office, Bruce Goldfarb, said that their office can’t give a cause of death over the phone. They could not reveal any further information as the investigation is ongoing.
Since the medical examiner decided not to investigate the death, the family was able to have the body delivered to the Leonard J. Ruck Funeral Home on Harford Road.
The funeral home staff discovered “possible ligature marks” around Cathy’s throat and “possible trauma” to her head while preparing the body for buriel.
Paul Hartsock, the funeral home’s manager, said that his staff is trained to report signs of foul play in the rare case that they spot any.
“We just did our job.”
Investigators returned to the crime scene after this discovery and found signs of a struggle in the living room. Witnesses and evidence pointed to Erich Kuhn who “waived his rights and provided a complete confession as to how and why he killed his mother” after he was arrested on Thursday.
Kuhn was ordered held in detention at a bail review hearing Friday, and a preliminary hearing is set for April 11.