Death of 72-year-old Wheaton woman investigated as homicide

- Investigators say the death of a 72-year-old Wheaton woman found inside her home is being investigated as a homicide.

The victim, identified as Linda Cheryl Johnston, was found dead late Wednesday afternoon by police after they were called to her home on Arcola Avenue by concerned neighbors.

Police are treating her death as a homicide after finding evidence of trauma to her body.

Police were seen going in and out of Johnston's home throughout the day on Thursday as yellow crime scene tape surrounded the perimeter of the home.

A neighbor told FOX 5 that the victim lived alone at this home for more than two decades. But when she recently fell under some financial hardship, she then started renting out her basement to tenants. Neighbors also said they have not seen those tenants or Johnston’s car for a while.

Johnston was described as a very nice lady who kept to herself and loved working in her yard.

She attended the Silver Spring Seventh-Day Adventist Church for many years. Churchgoers said they are still in complete shock over the news of her death. Many of them here found out through an email sent out by the church clerk.

“She was a great community person, she did a lot of work with homelessness and we both worked together a lot,” said Venice Harvey, who attended church with the victim. “She would give the last shirt off her back to someone. She would help anyone. I've seen her help many, many people around the church.”

“She was definitely a staple here at the church and everyone knew her, everyone liked her,” said Gregory Claude. “It's a shame that this kind of thing happened and I hope the police find them.”

Churchgoers said they are planning a memorial service for Johnston, but do not know exactly when that will take place.

Anyone with information about this investigation is asked to call Montgomery County police at 240-773-5070.

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