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Police press for tips in killing of 84-year-old Mary Hines

Baltimore police canvassed the East Baltimore neighborhood where 84-year-old Mary Hines was fatally stabbed and set on fire, hoping to generate tips in a case that has officials and residents outraged. 

Police said Monday that they have no suspects in the case. Hines was found dead Thursday morning in a fire that engulfed her home in the 2600 block of E. Biddle St., and an autopsy determined she had been stabbed multiple times. 

"The fire definitely complicates the case, and adds a hurdle that we'll have to overcome," said homicide Det. Joshua Ellsworth, who is the lead detective. "We have things to work on, we have things to go with that we are exploring. However, we could really use more assistance from this community."

The Sun reported last week that Hines had been living in the home since July without electricity, occasionally sharing food and appliances with neighbors. She was a retired school principal and remained active with church Bible study.

Maj. Melvin Russell, the commander of the Eastern District, said Hines was a "wonderful, wonderful sweet woman" and implored anyone with information to come forward. 

"We need to send a message, that these are not the kinds of things that we tolerate," Russell said, standing next to state Sen. Nathaniel McFadden. "Somebody needs to pick up the phone, somebody needs to call us. We can't stand for this."

Earlier in the day, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake lamented Hines' death and also the fact that she had been living without electricity. "It was so sad, on so many levels. To hear someone with such an open heart and heart for service, it looks like her caring spirit was taken advantage of."

Ellsworth said no tip is insignificant. He said anyone who saw anything the morning of the fire or the night before should pass along what they saw. Police say calls are not recorded, and callers can remain anonymous. A tip that leads to an arrest and indictment could be eligible for a cash reward of $2,000. 

Anyone with information was asked to call Metro Crime Stoppers at 1-866-7LOCKUP. 

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