Ronald McCombs told The Associated Press on Friday that Jane McQuain had recently been arguing with her husband and that on several occasions would not leave her condominium despite her orders to do so. He said McQuain told him about two weeks ago that she was concerned about her welfare.
"I said, `Janie, don't talk like that,"' McCombs recalled saying.
McQuain was found dead Wednesday night in her home in Germantown, about 30 miles northwest of Washington, after an acquaintance reported her missing. Her estranged husband, Curtis Maurice Lopez, was arrested the following morning as he tried to leave an EconoLodge in Charlotte, N.C. McQuain's 11-year-old son, William - Lopez's stepson - is missing, and police continued to search for the boy Friday.
It was not immediately clear if Lopez had an attorney or when he would return to Maryland to face charges. No motive was readily apparent, either.
McCombs said he dated McQuain from 1995 to 2007 and helped raise William as a young boy, even as Lopez was serving time in prison and rarely was in touch with McQuain or her son. He called William and McQuain "the perfect son and mom" and said he was close to McQuain until her death.
"School was number one for her son - and sports," McCombs said. "Everything her son basically wanted, she provided. Maybe she spoiled him too much, but she loved him that much."
Photos on McQuain's Facebook page paint of a portrait of a proud and doting mother. Dozens of pictures show William - often beaming - at a petting zoo on a Mother's Day outing and playing recreation league baseball or football and posing in his uniform. By Friday, many of McQuain's Facebook friends had changed their profile pictures to an image of William.
Christina Bassett, a children's youth ministry leader at the church McQuain and William attended, said William loves sports and animals. After a pet hamster of his once died, he described feeling better after praying with his mother, Bassett said. She said William's friends have been distressed and struggling to comprehend the severity of the situation. She took a walk with one boy near William's condo on Thursday to comfort him.
"They were convinced that he was hiding in one of their favorite little hiding spots and wanted to go out and look," Bassett said. "I explained, it's been two weeks, he's not there, and he's not a boy who would step away from his mom.
"He's one of those kids who would go for a sleepover and want to be home," she added.
Pennsylvania corrections records show Lopez served time from 1987 until his parole in 2000. He was at a prison in Camp Hill, Pa., at the time of a 1989 riot that destroyed part of the facility, but it was unclear if he played any role in the riots, said corrections department spokeswoman Sue McNaughton.
Lopez and McQuain remained married while Lopez was in prison, but he had a virtually nonexistent relationship with her during that time. He said McQuain also had nothing to do with William's father.
He acknowledged that his own relationship with McQuain was tempestuous at times. He said she struggled with alcohol addiction but got sober in recent years to care for William. Maryland court records show McCombs accused McQuain of assaulting him on several occasions, but McCombs said he never pursued the charges.
Lopez had recently tried to become involved in McQuain's life, McCombs said, but the couple had been arguing.
Police found Lopez with McQuain's car on Thursday and were hoping William would also be there.
"She lived for that boy," Bassett said. "She changed her life for him."