A 48-year-old George Washington University Hospital cleaning worker and her 18-year-old daughter were both found stabbed to death early a block apart in the 14th Street NW area.
The body of Sharon Johnson, 18, was found lying between two parked cars shortly after midnight by a passing motorist in an alley behind the Giant supermarket at 3460 14th St. NW. She had been stabbed a number of times in the upper torso.
About two hours later, police investigating her death entered an apartment a block away at 1455 Oak St. NW, where the body of Johnson's mother, Jean Johnson, lay sprawled across the living room floor. A carving knife, the apparent murder weapon, was also found, police said.
Police found Sharon Johnson's 3-year-old daughter, Natasha, asleep in one of the apartment's bedrooms.
Police said yesterday they had established no apparent motive for the slayings.
Jean Johnson, her unemployed daughter and her granddaughter had moved only a week ago from Southeast Washington to their federally subsidized apartment in the new 50-unit Oak Street Apartments, where they paid less than $100 a month for their two-bedroom, fourth-floor apartment, said property manager Carolene Pratt.
The building has a security lock on the front door and separate buzzers for each of the apartments at the entrance.
Johnson's coworkers at George Washington University Hospital, where she had been a cleaning worker for nine years, were stunned yesterday by news of her death.
"I've never seen so many people crying," said Johnson's supervisor, James Cole. "When I walked in this morning, everybody's eyes were red. Quite a few of the people wanted to go home. Everybody was shocked."
Pratt said she had interviewed Johnson for the apartment two months ago. "She was a very friendly person," Pratt said. "She was very pleasant to talk to."
Johnson, who was separated from her husband, had left the hospital at 4:30 Sunday afternoon, Cole said. What transpired after she arrived home remains unclear.
Following the discovery of her daughter's body, investigators were led to the Oak Street Apartment by reports of bloodstains in the building's halls and stairways, including a trail of blood that led to the Johnsons' apartment.
Resident manager Leslie Ferrine said a resident who lived in the basement had brought the bloodstains to his attention around 8:15 Sunday evening. "I told him somebody probably cut their finger," Ferrine said. "I went back and watched some more TV."
When police arrived they found the door to the Johnsons' apartment locked. Ferrine said he let them in with his pass key and they found Jean Johnson's body