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Detectives investigate death of man at home

Officers don't know what caused the man's death, but found the scene to be suspicious.

By THOMAS LAKE
Published April 25, 2007


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HOLIDAY -- He died in a white house with a weather vane, just south of Peace Lutheran Church, where purple flowers bloom in the beds out front and the porch holds a statue of a frog dressed up like a fisherman.

It happened before noon Tuesday at 2132 Arcadia Drive, authorities said. The woman of the house told a neighbor that her husband wouldn't wake up. The neighbor called 911, and officials found a body.

Investigators called his death suspicious, though they said they didn't know the cause.

There were no signs of forced entry, according to sheriff's spokesman Kevin Doll. The woman was taken to a hospital in what Doll called an "incoherent state."

Authorities had not released the couple's names by early Tuesday evening, but neighbors and property records say they are Philip and Denise Berthold.

Philip Berthold, 58, was a professional lounge singer and guitar player before he left to fight in Vietnam, according to neighbor Roger Vorhies. Other neighbors said he had diabetes and heart trouble, and that Denise Berthold had serious health problems of her own.

They had lived nearly three years in Holiday Gardens, just east of U.S. 19 and north of Mile Stretch Drive, where children ride bikes in the streets and crime rarely exceeds vandalism. It was not known Tuesday what raised detectives' suspicion.

But assembled around the house were the hallmarks of a homicide investigation: the fleet of dark Chevrolet Impalas, the hulking sport utility vehicle marked "medical examiner," the yellow tape fluttering in the wind, the detective in the screened porch wearing shoe coverings that looked like moon boots.

He was looking for something, but he did not say what.

Thomas Lake can be reached at tlake@sptimes.com or toll-free at 1-800-333-7505, ext. 6245.

[Last modified April 24, 2007, 23:01:30]


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