A man is behind bars for allegedly strangling a woman from Henrico to death in her home, nearly six months ago. Investigators say the suspect charged with murder, 43-year-old Michael Schwerdtfeger, was a friend of the victim, 60-year-old Wanda Anauo.
Anauo's home, on East Nine Mile Road is now for rent. However, on October 15 of last year, it became a crime scene. Wanda's boyfriend found her body bruised and lifeless, on her bed. Those who lived nearby watched police cars crowd their street in disbelief.
"I had tucked my kids in not knowing that there was a body next door," said Debbie Naab, who lives two homes down from Anauo's house.
Neighbors on East Read Street were shocked half a year later. This week, the suspect, Michael Schwerdtfeger, 43, was arrested. He's not described as anyone you'd typically think of as an accused murderer.
"He was neighborly…invited people over…talked to us all," said Dean LeRoy, whose home borders Schwerdtfeger's house. LeRoy said Schwerdtfeger didn't live there more than a few months.
Wanda Anauo's neighbors tell NBC12 that she always kept her screen door locked. However, they said when her boyfriend arrived at her home, he found the door open. Perhaps Wanda let Schwerdtfeger in her home, since investigators say he was a friend. However, it's not clear what triggered a deadly, hands-on attack, against a woman who was known to sit smiling on her porch.
"She was always smiling, laughing at everybody. She always seemed to be in a good mood," says Amber Cole, who works at the market across the street from Wanda.
Neighbors on the block say they're relieved to know that the crime wasn't a random murder, in what they describe to be a quiet area.
Schwerdtfeger is charged with first degree murder.
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