Julie Birch, 26, (in mug) is accused of murdering her 92-year-old roommate before calling 911 to report herself to police
A 26-year-old woman has been accused of murdering her 92-year-old roommate after the elderly woman welcomed her into her home, before calling 911 to report herself to police.
Julia Birch was arrested and charged Wednesday with first-degree murder for the killing of renowned sculptor Nancy Ann Frankel in Montgomery County, Maryland.
Police were called to Frankel’s home on Spruell Drive in Kensington around 8:20am that morning to a report of a dead body.
When officers arrived on the scene, Birch allegedly confessed to killing her elderly roommate. Police said they found Frankel’s body inside the home along with evidence from the scene that they said supported Birch’s confession.
The 26-year-old was taken into custody and, during a follow-up interview at Montgomery County Police Headquarters, she allegedly admitted again to killing Frankel and told cops she had called 911 to report the death.
It is not yet clear how Frankel died, with police saying an autopsy was scheduled for Thursday to determine the cause and manner of her death.
No motive has been given for her murder and police have not released any further information about the events leading up to her death, citing an active investigation.
A police spokesperson told DailyMail.com Birch had been living with Frankel at her home since January and was ‘an acquaintance of the victim’s family members.’
Frankel’s neighbor told The Daily Beast Frankel had mentored and taken into her home several young women over the years but that she had always found Birch unfriendly and ‘disconnected’.
Julia Yost, who lives a few doors down from the home where the sculptor would display her artwork in her yard, said most people in the area stop and say hello to each other.
‘I only saw that girl maybe three times, but when I saw her, she seemed, like, disconnected,’ Yost said.
Birch was arrested and charged Wednesday with first-degree murder for the killing of renowned sculptor Nancy Ann Frankel (pictured) in Montgomery County, Maryland
Police were called to Frankel’s home on Spruell Drive in Kensington (above) around 8:20am that morning to a report of a dead body. When officers arrived on the scene, Birch allegedly confessed to killing her elderly roommate
‘Here, everybody says, ‘Hi’ and ‘Bye,’ but I said, ‘Hi,’ and she just looked at me and kept going.’
Yost described Frankel as ‘very friendly and compassionate’ and active for her age, recalling how they would speak almost daily when Frankel took an afternoon walk through the neighborhood.
She said she believed Frankel mentored young women to pass on the mentorship she received when she was younger.
‘[Frankel] was exposed to several women mentors while she was at Columbia University, and I think she was trying to repay that by mentoring young women,’ Yost said.
‘There were other people living there on and off.’
Frankel, a mother and grandmother, was a well-known sculptor who showcased her work at numerous exhibitions and galleries over the years and won several awards.
No motive or cause of death has been given for Frankel’s death. Frankel released a book in 2018 called ‘Nancy @ Ninety: Seven Decades of Sculpture by Nancy Frankel’ (above)
Studio Gallery director Kelly Bresnowitz told the Daily Beast Frankel would be ‘missed greatly’ in the art community and said they are planning a memorial ‘in celebration of what a wonderful person and artist Nancy was.’
According to Frankel’s website NancyFrankel.com, she used ”organic geometry’ to give form to my love of nature and architecture.
‘Space, either encapsulated or activated, and a sense of balance, precarious yet centered, are integral to my work,’ she wrote.
Her sculptures ranged from table-top interior works to larger exterior pieces including sundials and fountains made of design-cast, steel and bronze.
Frankel also released a book in 2018 called ‘Nancy @ Ninety: Seven Decades of Sculpture by Nancy Frankel’, commemorating her 90th birthday.
Frankel, a mother and grandmother, was a well-known sculptor who showcased her work at numerous exhibitions and galleries over the years and won several awards. Pictured some of her artwork above
According to Frankel’s website NancyFrankel.com, she used ”organic geometry’ to give form to my love of nature and architecture’ (pictured some of the sculptures on her website)
The about the author section reveals how she started out waiting tables to pay for her college tuition as an art student at the Temple University and later Columbia.
She got married and moved with her husband to Germany where she continued her studies at the Munich Art Academy.
‘Sadly, Nancy’s husband died prematurely after their return to the US leaving her with two small children to support,’ it reads.
‘Her peace-activist daughter and architect son have each learned from this formidable mother and produced a number of grandchildren who lean on her for the counsel and support only grandmothers can provide.’
Birch is being held without bail and is set to appear in court on August 27.