Mystery surrounds murder-suicide in small Berks Co. town

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Authorities are calling the deaths of a man and woman found in separate locations in an eastern Pennsylvania borough an apparent murder-suicide.

Authorities are calling the deaths of a man and woman found in separate locations in Shoemakersville, Berks County an apparent murder-suicide.

But the motive behind it all may never be known.

It was around 1 a.m. when Charity Groff said she heard someone banging on her door.

That person was 50-year-old Carol Zimmerman, whom Groff describes as an acquaintance.

"She said 'please help me,' and she came to my door and banged on it. And I told her I was going to call 911," Groff said.

Groff did, and said the emergency dispatcher instructed her not to open the door in order to protect herself and her family.

"I was in the living room at this time and I heard a gunshot go off," said Groff.

State police arrived moments later to find Zimmerman had been shot to death in Groff's backyard.

As investigators started to search the area, they found the home of 61-year-old Garry Maurer less than a block away with the lights on and the front door open.

Inside they found Maurer's lifeless body on the living room floor. They quickly determined he died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

The only known link between Maurer and Zimmerman is that Zimmerman was a family friend who helped Maurer sort through some personal and financial issues involving his mother, who died about two weeks ago.

And since the only two people who know the full story are dead, police say they may never know, for sure, the motive behind this murder-suicide.

"Unless somebody that knows something that we don't know, somebody we didn't talk to comes forward and tells us the rest of the story, we won't really know," said Tpr. David Beohm.

Zimmerman lived with her husband in nearby Mohrsville.

Police say Maurer had a few DUIs in his past, but nothing violent.

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newspennsylvania newsbody foundmurderShoemakersville Borough
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