Updated at 5:15 p.m. Monday
From Georgetown Patch to Berner Zeitung, media outlets around the world are carrying the story of Viola Drath’s death inside her Georgetown rowhouse Friday. Drath, 91, was determined to be a homicide victim Saturday after an examination by DC’s medical examiner.
Here’s a links roundup of coverage from close to home and around the world.
On Friday morning, Viola Herms Drath was found unconscious and unresponsive in a bathroom in her well-appointed Georgetown rowhouse. When she was pronounced dead hours later, authorities assumed it was from natural causes. Drath was 91.
Then came the results of her autopsy Saturday. D.C. police are now investigating Drath’s death as a homicide.
“Homicide investigators are aggressively working on the case,” said D.C. Police Assistant Chief Peter Newsham. Late Sunday, police had not announced any arrests. Officials said they found no signs of forced entry at Drath’s home.
As police begin to unravel the details of Drath’s death, they will be delving into her unusual life. She was born in Germany in 1920. Her nine decades included marriage to a U.S. Army colonel and immigration to the United States, followed by work as a journalist, college instructor, contributor to the Washington Times and advocate of stronger U.S. relations with Germany. She also wrote several books.
WUSA reports on Drath’s marriage, and a history of domestic violence.
As police investigate Drath’s murder, a disturbing portrait of her marriage to Albrecht Muth, her second husband, is emerging. He is a man more than 40 years her junior.
“I’ve witnessed at least several, 3 or 4 actually, instances when the police have come for some sort of domestic disturbance,” said neighbor Laura Bowling.
Neighbors say police have been called to Drath’s Georgetown home at least 3 times since December of last year.
Court records indicate domestic violence cases dating back to 1992. A 2008 case against Muth notes that the victim is currently in the hospital and unable to appear in court. A stay away order was filed and later lifted. The affidavit paints a scene of extraordinary violence in which Muth allegedly beat Drath over the head with a chair, threw her off a couch, pounded her head into the floor and sat on her for five to 10 minutes. At the time, she was 86. He was 42. The case was never prosecuted.
“I never heard anything going on next door except for occasional parties that seemed very controlled,” said neighbor Susan Jones.
In an obituary, Georgetown Patch wrote of Drath,
She served as a foreign policy adviser on the Bush-Quayle campaign in 1988 and more recently served on the White House Commission on Remembrance, where she advocated for remembrance of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
A 2005 article in The Washington Times reported on one of Mrs. Drath’s birthdays. The German Ambassador at the time, Wolfgang Ischinger, reportedly said to her, “You have earned the respect of so many [on] both sides of the Atlantic for your role in building bridges of understanding and in strengthening the German-American relationship.”
In a report on the homicide, Georgetown Patch wrote,
On Friday, Drath’s second husband, Albrecht Gero Muth, sent an email to friends and neighbors about his wife’s passing.
I’m sad to advise that my dear wife of nearly 25 years passed away last night. Funeral arrangements are pending.
Georgetown Dish reports that Drath is the second homicide victim in five years on Q St. NW. The other victim,
aspiring British politician Alan Senitt, 27, a volunteer for former Virginia governor Mark R. Warner, was murdered after dropping off a friend who was staying at the home of developer Herb Miller.
NBC Washington reports
Police continue to search for who may have killed a long-time journalist and contributor to the Washington Times.
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