Elderly Woman's Murder Rocks Quiet Tiburon

75-year-old woman is city's 4th homicide victim in 40 years

By Jessica Greene
|  Wednesday, Sep 23, 2009  |  Updated 1:53 PM PDT
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Woman's Homicide is First in 40 Years in Tiburon

NBC Bay Area

Police and residents said they were shocked to hear a murder had happened in their quiet community, where many people feel so safe, they don't even lock their cars or front doors.

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Woman's Homicide is First in 40 Years in Tiburon

Investigators are trying to figure out why someone would target 75-year-old Joan Rosenthal, who became the city's fourth homicide victim in 40 years.
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Tiburon Mayor Alice Fredericks said that the woman found shot to death in front of her Tiburon home Tuesday morning was "a wonderful member of the community."

Joan Rosenthal, 75, who was found was found face down, still wearing her night gown, lying just outside the front door of her home at about 9:40 a.m., is the first homicide victim in the quiet Marin County community in a decade and just the fourth since 1970, said San Rafael police spokeswoman Margo Rohrbacher, who is assisting Tiburon police.

A friend of Rosenthal's called 911 Tuesday morning saying she had found the woman lying in an enclosed patio in front of the house, Rohrbacher said.

Emergency personnel said Rosenthal had suffered a gunshot wound to the head. She was pronounced dead at the scene, Rohrbacher said. Investigators have ruled out suicide and they say there are no signs that anyone forced their way into Rosenthal's home.

Authorities are investigating the death as a homicide. No suspects have been arrested.

Rosenthal co-led a contemporary fiction book group with Fredericks since 1997.

"That was just a great group," Fredericks said Tuesday afternoon, adding that Rosenthal was key to the group's success. "She put a lot of effort into making it a cohesive group."

Rosenthal's husband, Kenneth Rosenthal, died in January after a long battle with Alzheimer's disease. The couple met in San Francisco in 1959 and were married for 48 years.

Police and residents said they were shocked to hear a murder had happened in their quiet community, where many people feel so safe, they don't even lock their cars or front doors. About 8,500 residents live in Tiburon.

"She was a very good neighbor," Kathy Keating said. "Our children  grew up together. She was a very meticulous person and was well-organpolice disclosed she had been shot in the  head.
     
"We are all up in age and tend to lose our balance more," Keating  said.

Keating said none of the neighbors heard a gunshot.

"I can't image anyone who would hurt her," Keating said.

Sally Shepard said she was friends with Rosenthal for 44 years.
     
"She was extremely active in many ways. She got her master's  degree in career counseling and taught classes at the College of Marin. She  was a trained speech pathologist," Shephard said.

"They were an  extraordinarily close family," Shepard said.

"We don't have violent crime in Tiburon," Tiburon police Sgt. Shane Ford said.

Bay City News contributed to this report.

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