Maryland's Mother-Daughter Killings
A Double Murder
It was shortly past 2 a.m. on Monday, January 26, 2009, when Karissa Lofton, 16, called 911 to report that she and her mother, Karen Lofton, 45, had been shot inside their home located on the 10800 block of Southall Drive, in Largo, Md., a quiet suburban neighborhood about 16 miles east of Washington, D.C., off Interstate 95 near the Capital Beltway. She told the dispatcher that they needed immediate assistance, whispering her plea for help into the phone, perhaps because her assailant was still inside the house.
When the police arrived at the Loftons' two-story, colonial-style home less than five minutes later, there was no sign of forced entry. The front door was locked, but officers found a window on the side of the house that was closed but unlocked. An officer quietly crawled in through the window, his gun drawn, and let other officers inside through the front door. They searched the house room by room, but they soon realized that they had arrived too late. Karissa and her mother had both been shot dead by an unknown intruder or intruders, who were nowhere to be found.
According to Prince George's County acting Chief of Police Roberto Hylton, there was nothing to suggest that anything had been stolen from the house, which all but excluded robbery as a motive. Homicide detectives arrived at the crime scene a short time after the initial investigating officers and began looking for clues. They found that Karen had been crouched down in a corner of her bedroom, apparently trying to protect herself, and believed that she had been shot and killed at that location in the upper portion of her home. Investigators concluded that Karissa had been shot in her own bed, also located on the second floor; her body found beneath the covers.
According to a report that appeared later on America's Most Wanted, their home security system had been activated that night, but "was turned off within minutes of the break-in." Did that mean that the killer or killers had forced either Karen or Karissa to disarm the security system or had somehow later gained entry to the house without setting off the alarm, such as through an unlocked and unprotected window? It was said that Karen Lofton never left home without arming her security system, but police would later conclude that whoever entered the Lofton home that night had somehow neutralized the system before going inside. However, no one could explain how this could have been accomplished.
It was also revealed that police believed that a suspect may have fled through a backyard window after the murders. If that had been a perpetrator's exit, could that also have been the portal through which the killer or killers entered the house?