WESTFIELD – Two men were taken into custody in Erie, Pa., today and identified as suspects in the slaying of a violinist in her summer home in Westfield, two high-ranking police officials said.
The two were on foot in Erie, where Mary E. Whitaker’s stolen car was found. Her stolen credit cars also had been used in Erie, a police source said.
The two are being questioned by authorities in Erie; Chautauqua County District Attorney David Foley is also there.
Chautauqua County authorities plan to announce a “major development” in the investigation of the shooting death of Whitaker at a 5 p.m. news conference in Mayville, the sheriff’s office said today.
Whitaker, 61, a violinist with the Chautauqua Institution’s Symphony Orchestra, was found fatally shot in her summer home on Titus Road on Wednesday afternoon by another orchestra member after Whitaker failed to show up for an appointment.
Investigators in the shooting death of the well-liked violinist are working under the theory that Whitaker interrupted a burglary in progress at her house as she returned home following the orchestra final performance of the season.
Members of a Chautauqua County dive team today searched a small pond behind her house, located on the border of Westfield and the Town of Sherman. Divers wearing hip boots were seen using a submersible metal detector.
Erie Police Chief Randy M. Bowers confirmed his officers are assisting Chautuaqua County Sheriff’s deputies in the investigation.
“I cannot comment on anything regarding the investigation except that we are assisting the sheriff’s department in our city,” he said.