Charles and Aster B. Chester seemed like nice new neighbors when they moved into the suburban Prince George's County community of Largo on Christmas Eve.

Shortly after her daughter Rebecca was born in January, Aster Chester invited neighbors to a christening dinner of homemade Ethiopian food. And when the year's first crop of strawberries swelled on the vine in the Chesters' back yard several weeks ago, the quiet woman, who spoke little English, generously shared them.

Neighbors are shocked and puzzled in the aftermath of the slaying of Chester, whose body was found in the dining room of her split-level home Wednesday night with stab wounds in the chest. Her husband Charles and her 4-month-old daughter have disappeared, according to police, who said they are looking for Charles Chester for questioning.

The house, in a quiet middle-class subdivision of neat lawns and modern homes just outside the Capital Beltway, showed no signs of forced entry.

An autopsy showed that Chester, 33, had been stabbed in the chest several times and had been dead since Monday.

Police said they have no suspects or a motive for the killing.

The body was discovered after police received a call from Aster Chester's brother, who grew concerned after he had been unable to reach his sister since Sunday. What made her absence suspicious was that their mother had undergone an operation and Chester had not been in touch with the family.

Aster Chester had reportedly told neighbors that her husband worked nights in the insurance business and that she worked for the government before taking a pregnancy leave.

Sue Carmichael, who lives across the street, said a neighbor heard gunshots on Tuesday, the day before Chester's body was found, but thought nothing of it because Charles Chester often shot rabbits in the back yard.

Carmichael said the neighborhood is jittery over the slaying.

"We want to know because we're {wondering} where is the guy {who killed Chester}," said Carmichael. "It is a nice quiet neighborhood. Of course, we have our problems like anyplace else."