On January 16, 1984, Robert and Kathryn Swartz were found brutally murdered at their home in Cape St. Claire, Maryland. Investigators struggled to find a true motive on why this religious couple who were deeply devoted to their family and charitable causes were killed. When the true identity of their killer, their adopted son Larry, was revealed — it shocked everyone. Now, the case will be revisited in Oxygen’s premiere episode of An Unexpected Killer, titled “Modern Family Murder,” on Thursday, December 5. Swartz family friend Ron George exclusively opened up to In Touch about what the moment he learned Robert and Kathryn were murdered.
“It was in January. It was the first snow that we had and it was just a light sprinkling, you know, like an inch had just covered the ground in the morning and it was a cold day and I went to work. Then I got a phone call from the secretary in the parish office who told me they had died. I said, ‘What?’ And she said, ‘They were murdered.’ I said, ‘What?'” Ron told In Touch.
His thoughts first went to the couple’s adopted children, Larry, who was 17 at the time, and his sister, Annie. He immediately went to the family’s home to check up on the kids.
“I walked down to the carport and I just stared down by the pool in the back and there was [Annie] covered with a blanket, you could see her feet sticking out. I went, ‘Oh my gosh,’ you know, and it just hit me right there,” Ron continued.
A bloody palm print on the glass door on their patio eventually led investigators to Larry since it matched his own palm print. Larry was arrested just one week later and charged with two counts of first-degree murder. His bail was set at $200,000. Three days after his parents’ funeral, he confessed to the crime. He would later plead guilty to second-degree murder and he served nine years in prison in Maryland.
While it seemed unfathomable that Robert and Kathryn would be murdered by Larry, Ron revealed the moment he started to think that Larry may have been responsible.
“I called [Larry] the evening that his parents were killed. And when I was talking to him on the phone, he was laughing, relaxed. He was just a different person on the phone,” Ron explained. “And then he said something in a way that sent a chill up my spine. And I called his lawyer and I said, run it. I think Larry could’ve, it could’ve been Larry.”
An Unexpected Killer premieres on Oxygen Thursday, December 5 at 8 p.m. ET.
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