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Published: Thursday, 4/21/2005

Lima teacher, her mother found slain

LIMA, Ohio - A Lima Head Start teacher and her mother were found slain in their south-side home yesterday, authorities said.

Lynette McDonald and her mother, Carmen Chitman, with whom she lived, may have been killed as early as 5 a.m., police said, although their bodies were not discovered until nearly noon when a co-worker of Ms. McDonald called the house to find out why she had not reported for work.

Rochelle Twining, director of the Lima Allen Council on Community Affairs, said an employee of the agency spoke with one of Ms. McDonald's two young children, who told her his mother was dead. When she asked to speak to his grandmother, he said she was dead, too.

Ms. Twining said the worker went to the house at Fairview and St. Johns avenues where she found the young boy and girl with blood on them. She removed the children from the house and called police.

Lima police called the deaths suspicious, but would not say what type of injuries the women suffered.

Lawrence McDonald, Jr., a brother of Ms. McDonald and son of Ms. Chitman, said his sister's black Dodge Durango sport utility vehicle was missing, and police put out a bulletin alerting law enforcement officials to be on the lookout for it.

Ms. Twining said Ms. McDonald was a Head Start teacher for about five years.

A counseling session for other Head Start teachers was scheduled for 3 p.m. today to help them answer children's questions about what happened to Ms. McDonald.

The two slayings were the first homicides reported this year in Lima, a city of 40,000 people about 75 miles south of Toledo.

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