CRIME

Viola Drath's Death Shrouded In Bizarre Mystery

08/17/2011 07:46 pm 19:46:21 | Updated Oct 17, 2011

According to newly released documents, Washington socialite Viola Drath's death was caused by strangulation and blunt force trauma.

The latest revelation in the case comes one day after the arrest of the German expatriate's husband, 47-year-old Albrecht Muth. Authorities have charged Muth with second-degree murder in his 91-year-old wife's slaying.

Paramedics in the District of Columbia were dispatched on Friday to a home in an upscale Georgetown neighborhood in response to a report of an unconscious person. Upon their arrival, they discovered an unconscious and unresponsive Drath.

"Personnel from DC Fire and Emergency Medical Services determined that the decedent had no signs of life and was pronounced dead by a member of the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for the District of Columbia," a spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police Department told The Huffington Post.

Muth sent out about 40 emails Friday afternoon, notifying friends and associates of his wife's death, which he curiously said had occurred on Thursday.

"I am sad to advise that my dear wife of nearly 25 years passed last night. Funeral arrangements are pending," Muth wrote.

In an obituary submitted to the Washington Post, Muth listed the cause of his wife's death as "head trauma from a fall" and again listed the day of her death as Thursday.

The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for the District of Columbia did not complete the autopsy on Drath until Saturday. It was then that they officially set her time of death as Thursday and determined the manner of death was homicide.

On Sunday, police executed a search warrant inside Muth and Drath's home. Investigators removed several bags of evidence, the significance of which remains unclear.

Muth was arrested and charged with his wife’s murder on Tuesday evening. Following his arrest, the Drath family released the following statement to the media:

"We are deeply saddened by the loss of our mother and grandmother, Viola Drath. Her intelligence, independence and grace remained intact to the end. Our family is incredibly appreciative of the excellent work of the Metropolitan Police Department."

According to the Washington Post, Drath was born in Germany in 1920 and worked as a journalist for the Handelsblatt. When she later immigrated to the United States, she married her first husband, U.S. Army Col. Francis S. Drath, in 1947 and worked as a contributor to the Washington Times.

Col. Drath died in 1986, and a few years later Viola Drath married Muth, who was more than 40 years her junior.

Muth has reportedly claimed to be a general in the Iraqi army and was known to walk around his neighborhood in a military uniform.

The Iraqi government, however, claims he is not a member of its military.

"We are deeply troubled by Mr. Muth’s claim of his service in the Iraqi military. He is not currently and has never been a member of the Iraqi Army," the Iraqi Embassy in Washington told the Washington Post.

"He does not represent the Embassy, its attaches, the government of Iraq, or any government institution in any fashion," the embassy continued. "In the past, the Embassy was aware of the claims made by Mr. Muth and made it clear to all concerned that they were false and demanded that they must cease."

Muth reportedly continues to assert his affiliation with the Iraq military. The reason at this time remains unclear.

According to court documents, the 21-year relationship between Muth and Drath was, at times, turbulent.

In 2006, Muth was charged with assaulting Drath with a chair, pounding her head on the floor and sitting on her. The charges were later dropped when Drath decided not to pursue it, according to court records.

Court records also show Muth was arrested two years later for domestic violence, but was not prosecuted.

The charging documents released Wednesday allege that Muth presented a letter to his wife's family after her death, stating that in the event of her death he was to be paid $150,000. The letter was dated Aug. 11, the day before she was reported dead. Muth also allegedly asked if he could continue to receive his monthly allowance of $2,000.

The court documents allege that Muth spoke to himself several times when left alone in a police interview room. He allegedly said to himself, "She has ruled it a murder."

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