ROCKVILLE – Police are searching for clues while neighbors say they are stunned by the murder of Richard “Dick” Louis Vilardo, 65, and his wife, Julianne “Jody” Humphries Vilardo, 67, earlier this week.
According to neighbors, the area is extremely quiet with few cars passing through and the Vilardos were well-liked and had no known enemies.
Richard Webster and Gus Mondelo, who live only a block away from the Vilardo residence, both said they knew the murder victims. Webster belonged to the neighborhood gardening club along with the Vilardos. “(The Vilardos were) extremely friendly, warm, with a terrific sense of humor … just wonderful people. I mean really wonderful,” Webster said.
According to police spokesman Capt. Paul Starks, the Vilardos were last known to be alive after returning from dinner with friends in Charlestown, West Virginia, late Saturday night. The Vilardos were expected to attend a family function the next morning, Mother’s Day, but when they did not show, a family member went to the residence and found the wife dead in the house and the husband dead in the backyard.
Starks said that investigators believe the killer entered through an unlatched window and then attacked the Villardos with a knife or another weapon that would cause “sharp force injuries.”
Gloria Chang, who has lived in the neighborhood for 19 years, said that burglaries have happened in the neighborhood as recently as this past Easter and that “in the summertime (people) will call to see if anybody’s home, and if you don’t answer, they assume you’re not home.”
However, Mondelo, finds it hard to believe that a botched burglary led to the death of the Vilardos because of their age and also that the circumstances make their deaths even stranger and more worrisome.
“I don’t think it would be a robbery because they’re an old couple. So, if it’s a robbery gone wrong, they could just get away, no need to kill them,” Mondelo said. “It’s just strange, got us worried.”
Mondelo said the Vilardos deaths were “surprising” because there is not usually a lot of crime in the neighborhood and said the whole matter is “a little unsettling.”
Since the homicides, both Chang and Mondelo said, they have taken more safety measures at night.
“Now we’re starting to lock our doors and windows, obviously,” Mondelo said. “Before, we just left our doors unlocked … cars unlocked pretty much.”
According to Starks, investigators still do not know why the Vilardos were killed, but they are “looking at many possibilities still because we don’t want to overlook any piece of information or evidence.”
Starks said the police effort has not stopped since officers arrived on the scene Sunday afternoon and they are “using every bit of energy and all the resources we have to bring this to closure” and put whoever committed this violent crime behind bars.