A 54-year-old woman was found dead in her Potomac home last night, and police are investigating the case as a homicide.

The body of Shohreh Seyed-Makki was found about 6:55 p.m. by a family friend who went to check on her, at the request of Seyed-Makki's husband, after she didn't show up for an afternoon appointment, said Lt. Eric Burnett, a spokesman for the Montgomery County police.

Burnett would not comment on the cause of death, whether there were signs of forced entry to her home or where the body was found.

"At this time, we're not releasing the cause of death. We just don't know," he said.

Neighbors said Seyed-Makki, who is identified in Maryland voter registration records as Shohreh Makki, had lived with her family in the 9500 block of Newbridge Drive since the early 1990s. Her husband, Khosrow Makki, is an ear, nose and throat surgeon, and the family is well known in the local Iranian community, neighbors said.

Several friends went to the large, two-story brick house last night, looking for information and offering to help the family. Several women wept at the feet of police officers at hearing the news of her death.

Moje Daemy said he met the Makkis 20 years ago when they became neighbors in Montgomery County after fleeing Iran in the early 1980s. Daemy said Seyed-Makki had once worked as a secretary in her husband's Greenbelt office, and he added that the couple was known to offer free medical treatment for Iranian immigrants if they could not pay.

Last night, Daemy described Seyed-Makki as a friendly and giving person who would talk to everyone at parties and barbecues.

"She was perfect," he said. "Very happy. . . . Everybody loved her."

Investigators were expecting the results of a preliminary autopsy today, authorities said. Police were talking last night with family members and the friend who found the body, Burnett said.

"Right now, we don't have a whole lot of leads," he said.