Roommate, 26, ‘killed famous Maryland sculptor, 92, then calls 911 to report himself’

Julie Birch, 26, (in mug) charged with murdering her 92-year-old roommate before calling 911 to report herself to police

A 26-year-old woman has been accused of murdering her 92-year-old roommate after the elderly woman welcomed her into her home before calling 911 to report herself to police.

Julia Birch was arrested Wednesday and charged with first degree murder for the murder of famed sculptor Nancy Ann Frankel in Montgomery County, Maryland.

Police were called to Frankel’s home on Spruell Drive in Kensington around 8:20 a.m. that morning over a report of a body.

When officers arrived, Birch allegedly confessed to murdering her elderly roommate. Police said they found Frankel’s body in the house, along with evidence supporting Birch’s confession.

The 26-year-old was taken into custody, and during a follow-up call at the Montgomery County Police Department, she again admitted to killing Frankel and told police she called 911 to report the death.

It is not yet clear how Frankel died, police say an autopsy is scheduled for Thursday to determine the cause and manner of her death.

No motive has been given for her murder and police have not released any further information about the events leading up to her death, citing an active investigation.

A police spokesman told DailyMail.com Birch had been living with Frankel at her home since January and was “an acquaintance of the victim’s relatives.”

Frankel’s neighbor told The everyday beast Frankel had mentored and taken in several young women over the years, but that she had always found Birch unfriendly and “disconnected.”

Julia Yost, who lives a few doors down from the house where the sculptor was due to display her artwork in her yard, said most people in the area stop to say hello.

“I may have only seen that girl three times, but when I saw her, she seemed disconnected,” Yost said.

Birch was arrested Wednesday and charged with first degree murder for the murder of famed sculptor Nancy Ann Frankel (pictured) in Montgomery County, Maryland

Birch was arrested Wednesday and charged with first degree murder for the murder of famed sculptor Nancy Ann Frankel (pictured) in Montgomery County, Maryland

Police were called to Frankel's home on Spruell Drive in Kensington (above) around 8:20 a.m. that morning due to a report of a corpse.  When officers arrived, Birch allegedly confessed to murdering her elderly roommate

Police were called to Frankel’s home on Spruell Drive in Kensington (above) around 8:20 a.m. that morning due to a report of a corpse. When officers arrived, Birch allegedly confessed to murdering her elderly roommate

“Here everyone says ‘Hi’ and ‘Hello,’ but I said, ‘Hello,’ and she just looked at me and kept going.”

Yost described Frankel as “very friendly and compassionate” and active for her age, recalling how they would talk almost daily when Frankel took an afternoon stroll around the neighborhood.

She said she believed Frankel guided young women to pass on the mentorship she received when she was younger.

‘[Frankel] was exposed to several female mentors when she was at Columbia University, and I think she tried to repay that by mentoring young women,” Yost said.

“Occasionally other people lived there.”

A mother and grandmother, Frankel was a well-known sculptor who has exhibited her work in numerous exhibitions and galleries over the years, winning several awards.

No motive or cause of death has been given for Frankel's death.  Frankel released a book in 2018 called 'Nancy @ Ninety: Seven Decades of Sculpture by Nancy Frankel' (above)

No motive or cause of death has been given for Frankel’s death. Frankel released a book in 2018 called ‘Nancy @ Ninety: Seven Decades of Sculpture by Nancy Frankel’ (above)

Studio Gallery director Kelly Bresnowitz told the Daily Beast that Frankel would be “dearly missed” in the art community and said they are planning a memorial “to celebrate what an amazing person and artist Nancy was.”

According to Frankel’s website NancyFrankel.com, she used “organic geometry” to express my love for nature and architecture.

“Space, encapsulated or activated, and a sense of balance, precarious but centered, are integral to my work,” she wrote.

Her sculptures ranged from interior tableware to larger exterior pieces, including sundials and fountains of cast design, steel and bronze.

Frankel also released a book in 2018 called “Nancy @ Ninety: Seven Decades of Sculpture by Nancy Frankel,” commemorating her 90th birthday.

A mother and grandmother, Frankel was a noted sculptor who has exhibited her work in numerous exhibitions and galleries over the years, winning several awards.  Have pictured some of her artworks above

A mother and grandmother, Frankel was a well-known sculptor who has exhibited her work in numerous exhibitions and galleries over the years, winning several awards. Have pictured some of her artworks above

According to Frankel's website, NancyFrankel.com, she used

According to Frankel’s website, NancyFrankel.com, she used “organic geometry” to give shape to my love of nature and architecture” (picture some of the sculptures on her website)

The author section reveals how she started waiting at tables to pay her tuition as an art student at Temple University and later Columbia.

She married and moved with her husband to Germany, where she continued her studies at the Munich Art Academy.

“Unfortunately, Nancy’s husband died prematurely after their return to the US, leaving her with two small children to support,” it reads.

“Her peace activist daughter and architect son have both learned from this formidable mother and have produced a number of grandchildren who rely on her for the advice and support that only grandmothers can provide.”

Birch is being held without bail and will appear in court on August 27.

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