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Friends mourn murder victim in Walbridge

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Bedford

The Blade/Lori King
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As 15-year-old Whitney Richards walked down North Grove Street in Walbridge on her way home from school yesterday, she saw a woman lying in the middle of the street bleeding.

Julia Bedford, 41, of 209 North Grove St. had been stabbed and was taken to St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead, Lake Township Police Chief Mark Hummer said.

Larry Adler, 61, also of the North Grove address, was arrested and charged with murder. He was being held in the Wood County jail in lieu of a $1 million bond pending his arraignment today in Perrysburg Municipal Court.

The stabbing occurred about 2:30 p.m. at the North Grove address, near East Perry Street, in the village of about 3,000, Chief Hummer said.

Authorities are unsure what led to the stabbing and could not say whether it occurred inside the house or on the street.

Dozens of people watched from the sidewalk as police collected evidence.

"These incidents do not often occur in small towns. It is shocking," Chief Hummer said.

Janie Bennett, who lives in the neighborhood, said she had been friends with Ms. Bedford for almost two decades.

She said Ms. Bedford and Mr. Adler had been together for about 20 years and the couple had a 17-year-old son. Ms. Bennett said she knew the couple argued occasionally, but said Mr. Adler, a truck driver, "loved her a lot."

"She was a good friend. If you needed help, she'd help you," she said.

Marianne Schwamberger, who lives across the street, said it appeared from the blood on the street that Ms. Bedford was heading toward the Schwambergers' driveway.

"She didn't go right or left. She came straight forward, " Mrs. Schwamberger said yesterday, wiping away tears.

Whitney's sister, Kamey Richards, 14, said Ms. Bedford was able to convince her and several other local teenagers to attend Lighthouse Christian Fellowship church at the corner of Grove and Guy streets.

She said Ms. Bedford's house was the neighborhood hangout, where teenagers would often play Nintendo Wii with her. Ms. Bedford also liked to cook and was known for a cake she made that looked like a hamburger, Kamey said.

"If you had a problem, she was the one to go to," Kamey said as she fought back tears at a memorial service at the church last night attended by about 40 people.

Pastor George Verdugo said Ms. Bedford started attending church services about 1 1/2 years ago. Afterward, Ms. Bedford began telling people about the church any chance she got. The pastor urged those at the memorial service to continue her work.

"She would tell everybody about the church. Don't let her work be stopped," he said. "We're not going to forget her."

Contact Laren Weber at:

lweber@theblade.com

or 419-724-6050.

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