Nearly 20 years after the crime was committed, Craig Benjamin Doring, 36, now of Islamorda, Fla. was indicted for the 1983 murder of Rae McConaghy by a Montgomery County grand jury.
After the initial investigation, the office had been hesitant to go forward with the investigation, said State’s Attorney Doug Gansler. “There is now an ability and a willingness to go forward,” Gansler said.
McConaghy, 74, of Fenway Drive in the Carderock Springs neighborhood of Bethesda, was found dead on her kitchen floor wearing her bedclothes with a pillowcase over her head on Aug. 14, 1983. Her house had been burglarized.
The autopsy conducted at the time indicated that she died of a heart attack during the burglary. “The state needs to show that somebody died during the commission of a felony,” Gansler said. Therefore, the state will not need to prove that Doring and his companion caused the victim to have a heart attack.
During the initial investigation, Doring had been a suspect, according to the State’s Attorneys office. He and another suspect had admitted to a series of car thefts in Potomac and Bethesda in the summer of 1983. Doring and the other individual admitted to driving his mother’s car to Fenway drive on Aug. 13, 1983, and stealing items from cars on that street.
During the investigation, police recovered various items of stolen property from Doring’s and the other suspect’s house, including two gold necklaces that Doring and his accomplice said were stolen from a car. The necklaces were identified as McConaghy’s by her housekeeper. No charges relating to her death were filed at that time.
In 1999, the victim’s family asked that the case be re-opened. Investigators showed the necklaces to McConaghy’s daughter and granddaughter, who identified them as McConaghy’s.
The family provided police with photographs of McConaghy wearing the necklaces, and the police were able to use computer imaging technology to positively identify them.