A Washington man died from a stab wound he suffered Sunday night outside a home in a waterfront community near Chaptico, according to authorities reporting one of his relatives was seriously injured, and that no charges have been filed.
“Two people got into a dispute,” a senior St. Mary’s sheriff’s deputy said Tuesday. “One’s dead, and the other person is still in the hospital.”
Michael Ross Bethea, 47, succumbed at the scene of the dispute at a Bay Drive address in the Mill Point Shores community along the Wicomico River, where many of the houses serve as second homes enjoyed for weekend getaways and vacations.
An autopsy on Bethea’s body will be performed to further determine the circumstances of his death, sheriff’s Capt. Edward Willenborg, the agency’s criminal investigations commander, said this week, adding that the person hospitalized after the incident is expected to recover from their injuries.
Visitors this Memorial Day weekend to the house also included Bethea’s fiancee, who authorities report quarreled with his sister before he was alerted about their disagreement, and he confronted his sister.
“He came up to take care of business,” St. Mary’s State’s Attorney Richard Fritz (R) said, and “in the process he got stabbed.”
The sister’s injuries included “several broken ribs [and] a punctured lung,” the prosecutor said, adding that a law officers responding to the scene found a knife and screwdriver.
Following Sunday’s 11:21 p.m. call to 911 dispatchers, a sheriff’s office release states “lifesaving measures were attempted by responding officers and emergency personnel, however, Bethea was pronounced deceased on the scene. Detectives from the Criminal Investigations Division responded to the scene, and … [the] preliminary investigation determined the victim was involved in a family dispute, and was subsequently stabbed outside the residence.”
The survivor of the confrontation had not been questioned as of early Tuesday morning, Fritz said while noting, “I don’t think there’s a lot of witnesses to the fight.”
As to any criminal charges, “I have to look at it and decide where to go,” the prosecutor said, including whether the evidence suggests a “legitimate self-defense” in the man’s death.
Mill Point Shores provides a setting for social gatherings, both for people who live there throughout the year and others who have a house that they go to on weekends, as Dora Hurley did before leaving earlier Sunday from her place nearby where Bethea later died.
“Some of them are there year round,” Harley said Tuesday when reached by telephone at her primary residence in Forestville, as she described herself as among the people who are “just in and out, like we do. We have a place down there, [and] we stick to ourselves.”
She and her husband, who recently died, bought their place at Mill Point Shores in 1973, and witnessed transitions in the neighborhood. “It’s peaceful and quiet down there now,” she said. “It’s nice.”
The sheriff’s office has requested that anyone with information on Sunday’s incident contact detective Skyler LeFave by calling 301-475-4200, ext. *1983, or by sending email to email@example.com. Citizens may remain anonymous and leave a tip for Crime Solvers at 301-475-3333, or send a text to “CRIMES” (274637) with the code “TIP239” plus the message.