Caregiver Faces Charges After Homicide Ruling

SALISBURY — A local woman faces second-degree murder and other charges this week after the death of another woman for whom she was a caregiver at a residence in Fruitland last week.

In the early morning hours last Thursday, July 16, the Fruitland Police Department received a call from someone who reported an unattended death. After arriving at the residence on Morris Street, Fruitland Police officers summoned the Maryland State Police Homicide Unit to take the lead in the investigation because the circumstances of the death of the victim, identified as Mary E. Bonniwell, 56, of Fruitland, appeared to be suspicious. The scene was secured by the MSP Homicide Unit with assistance from the Wicomico County Bureau of Investigation.

The preliminary investigation revealed Bonniwell lived at the residence with Becky A. Long, 44, of Fruitland, who had been Bonniwell’s caregiver for over a year. Bonniwell’s death was ruled a homicide after an autopsy was completed by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Baltimore last Friday. The autopsy indicated multiple injuries caused the victim’s death.

Maryland State Police investigators executed several search warrants and interviewed others in the residence. Based on the findings and after consulting with the Wicomico County State’s Attorney’s Office, Long was charged with second-degree murder, first-degree assault, second-degree assault, manslaughter, reckless endangerment, and first- and second-degree abuse of a vulnerable adult. Long was arrested without incident and is being held this week in the Wicomico County Detention Center on a $1 million bond.

Crime scene technicians from the Maryland State Police Forensic Division responded to collect items of evidential value. The investigation is ongoing as detectives continue to review evidence and obtain test results.