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Woman's death ruled a homicide

January 19, 2005|by PEPPER BALLARD

pepperb@herald-mail.com

WASHINGTON COUNTY - The Jan. 13 death of an 86-year-old Washington County woman who was assaulted almost two weeks ago during a robbery at her Hebb Road home was ruled a homicide Tuesday by a doctor at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Baltimore, Washington County Sheriff's Department Sgt. Mark Knight said.

Winnie Gelvin arrived at her 109 Hebb Road home at around noon on Tuesday, Jan. 4, and was pushed down and robbed of her purse, Knight said. She died at Washington County Hospital on Jan. 13, according to Investigator Greg Alton and her son-in-law, Gary Meihls.

Knight said the medical examiner who performed Gelvin's autopsy ruled Tuesday that the cause of Gelvin's death was a pelvic fracture with complications and the manner of her death was ruled a homicide.

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Knight said Tuesday that he will not know until he receives the full autopsy report what complications arose from the fracture.

Meihls has said his mother-in-law was in "perfect health" before the robbery.

Gelvin, who was conscious after the robbery, was discovered immediately after the robbery by a passer-by who helped and called 911, Alton has said.

Knight said police have Gelvin's description of the man who robbed her, but are looking for others who were in the area of her Hebb Road home on Jan. 4 who may have seen something suspicious.

"Any little detail is important," he said.

Gelvin's robber was described as a light-skinned black man in his 20s. He was described as being 5 feet 8 inches tall to 5 feet 10 inches tall with a medium build and was wearing a light-colored jacket and a cap resembling a skullcap, Alton has said.

Knight asked anyone who was driving along Hebb Road between 11:30 a.m. and noon on Jan. 4 or who may have seen anything in that area at the time of the robbery to call the Sheriff's Department at 301-791-3020.

"Some people might think what they saw is not important, but if they saw anything, we should know about it. Don't hesitate to call," he said.

Gelvin is survived by her daughter, Shelia "Shelly" Meihls, who lives in Clovis, Calif., a suburb of Fresno, Calif., Meihls has said.

Gelvin's son, Russell Gelvin, died in April 1992 after his motorcycle hit a Mercedes head-on in Washington County, Meihls has said. Russell Gelvin's girlfriend also died in that accident.

Winnie Gelvin lived on the outskirts of Hagerstown since the death of her husband, Elvin "Dutch" Gelvin, about 20 years ago, Meihls has said.

Meihls said Tuesday that he did not want to comment on the homicide ruling.

Staff Writer Julie E. Greene contributed to this story.

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