Beverly Gillette telephoned Prince George's County police early Thursday evening to report that a 14-year-old neighbor girl had just run to her house dripping wet and crying hysterically. She said the girl kept screaming that her little sister was dead, floating in the bathtub.
When police arrived at the well-kept, small house on a quiet cul-de-sac in Forestville, they found the body of an 11-year-old girl floating in the tub. They arrested Eugene Coleman, the 38-year-old stepfather of the girls, and charged him with first-degree murder. Police said he is being held without bond in Prince George's County Detention Center pending a hearing Tuesday.
According to police reports, the older of the two girls said she was tied up while her mother was away and her younger sister was outside riding her bicycle. Police said when the younger sister came inside to take a bath, Coleman grabbed the younger girl, took her to the bathroom, filled the tub and drowned her.
Police said Coleman then untied the older girl and dragged her to the bathroom to show her what had happened to her sister. When the girls' mother came home, police said, the older girl escaped and ran to the neighbors.
Neighbors said Coleman did not work because of a disability suffered as a Metro worker. They said he was meticulous about his house and his lawn and occasionally got extremely angry when children walked across his lawn. Otherwise, they said, he seemed to be a pleasant, though distant, man.
Neighbors described the girls as "delightful children" who immediately fit in with the rest of the neighborhood when they moved in eight months ago. They said the girls had never appeared to be abused.
James Gillette Jr., to whose house the older girl fled, said the sisters frequently went to church with his children and always seemed to be in good spirits.