Authorities soon determined that the popular journalist, photographer and daughter of a family prominent on both sides of the Potomac had been slain, although they aren’t saying how she died.
In a search for her killer, police have sought the identity of the person in her Facebook post and other men she met through online dating sites. They’ve probed her stories at the Winchester Star newspaper and they’ve stopped drivers on the street near her rented home, looking for anyone who might have seen something.
But people in this picturesque village that sits amid green pastures remain shocked. Upperville rarely sees serious crime — let alone a homicide. And the killing has taken a name storied in equestrian circles and among the country estates that dot the area. Greenhalgh, who grew up in Potomac, was also the daughter of a once-prominent Montgomery County politician.
The Fauquier County Sheriff’s Office has not named a suspect in the case, and authorities said they are talking to multiple “persons of interest.”
Greenhalgh’s family and friends remember her as a bold, dynamic and blunt woman who loved horses and travel and was deeply dedicated to her work. One friend joked that there should have been a ripple “in the force” with Greenhalgh’s death because she “had that much presence.” Her Facebook page and online forums have filled with remembrances as word of her death has spread.
Kate Langton, Greenhalgh’s sister, was careful to say that she has no idea who killed her sibling, but said Greenhalgh had another side, too: She was not afraid to involve herself in messy relationships or situations.
“She didn’t shy away from the complicated,” Langton said. “She would look the dark right in the face. Unfortunately, it seems like it started looking back at her.”
One of those relationships was with the person from the Facebook post, Langton said, a man whom Greenhalgh dated on and off in the months before her death. He was depressed and had been going through a divorce, Langton said. Still, she said she didn’t think he could have killed her sister.
On the day before her body was found, whatever darkness befell Greenhalgh seemed far away, Langton said. She and her sister chatted happily that Sunday morning, and Greenhalgh had a routine visit with acquaintances later that evening, police said. Nothing seemed amiss.
In fact, Langton said her sister was in a good place in life. Greenhalgh had plunged into her job as the Frederick County government reporter at the Star, after being out of work for more than a year.
It was about 8 a.m. on July 9 when the off-duty firefighter reported the fire at Greenhalgh’s home. The Greenhalgh case would become Fauquier County’s first homicide of 2012.