Salesman found slain in suburban model home
BALTIMORE | Homicide detectives scoured the grounds of a model home Thursday in Maryland after a building company employee was found slain inside the suburban unit he was trying to sell.
Authorities say the battered body of 33-year-old Steven Bernard Wilson, a sales and marketing representative for Ryan Homes, was found Wednesday evening in the model home he was working out of in Hanover. The Anne Arundel County Police Department said officers were dispatched to the home following a 911 call but could not confirm whether Mr. Wilson made the call himself. The married father of two young children was pronounced dead at the scene.
“There was very clear upper body trauma. We can’t say yet if it was a gunshot wound, a knife wound or something like that because the autopsy hasn’t been completed yet,” said police spokeswoman Sgt. Jacklyn Davis.
Mr. Wilson’s body was sent to Baltimore for an autopsy. His family released a statement saying they were awaiting the results of the police investigation and described him as a “loving husband, father, son, brother and friend.” A spokesman for the parent company of Ryan Homes, Virginia-based NVR Inc., declined to comment.
A search of the model home and surrounding areas was conducted by air and dogs, and Anne Arundel police say they identified “multiple pieces of evidence” throughout the night.
On Thursday morning, more than a dozen cadets searched for more evidence in a grassy field directly behind the model unit, where red balloons attached to a “for sale” sign waved in the breeze.
Homicide detectives did not yet have a motive, Sgt. Davis said, describing the investigation as “very active.”
The slaying worried nearby residents living in the type of suburban properties Mr. Wilson sold for his employer, and it rattled real estate agents who work open houses.
Tanisha Ashford, who sells homes from her base in Upper Marlboro, said she was taking extra precautions in the wake of the slaying. She said she’s “always on guard” when showing properties and uses a smartphone safety app marketed to real estate agents. She also always tells her husband where she’s working if he can’t accompany her.
“Most times he goes with me when it’s new clients, especially if a male,” she said.
Bob Johnston, CEO of the Anne Arundel County Association of Realtors, said Mr. Wilson was not a licensed real estate agent, but a builder’s representative tasked with selling the company’s model homes.
“It’s still a real estate-related thing, there’s no question about it. And we’re extremely concerned and putting that out to our members because it could have been one of them,” Mr. Johnston said in a phone interview.