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Friday, May 8, 1998

Murder suspected in death of student

A 24-year-old woman's body was found in her Center City
apartment. Police believe she may have been strangled.

By Clea Benson,

Homicide detectives last night were investigating the death of a 24-year-old Wharton School doctoral student whose body was found in her Center City apartment yesterday afternoon.

There was no official cause of death for Shannon Schieber, who was found in bed with no obvious injuries. An autopsy was scheduled to take place this morning, but investigators said they were considering the death a murder, possibly a strangulation.

Schieber's body was found about 13 hours after a neighbor dialed 911 to report screams coming from her apartment, police said. Officers responding to the call banged on the door for a while, but left when they got no response, police said.

Schieber, who lived in a one-room, second-floor apartment with a balcony in the 200 block of South 23d Street, was found about 3 p.m. by her brother and a neighbor, police said.

Schieber's brother, who was passing through town on a drive from Maryland to Massachusetts, was supposed to meet her for lunch at the University of Pennsylvania, police said. But when he arrived at Penn, co-workers at her campus job told him that she had not shown up for work and that they were concerned.

Schieber's brother went to the apartment, and ran into the same neighbor who had called police the night before, authorities said. The two became even more worried when they saw that the sliding-glass door to her balcony was open. They broke into the apartment, which had no sign of an earlier forced entry, police said.

Investigators last night combed the apartment.

``The apartment was in disarray, and it appears that there could have been a struggle,'' said Homicide Inspector Jerrold Kane.

Schieber's parents arrived last night from their home in Chevy Chase, Md., and then left the scene without speaking to reporters.

Schieber, who who grew up in Chevy Chase, graduated in 1995 with a math degree from Duke University, with second and third majors in philosophy and economics, according to a biography on a University of Pennsylvania Web site.

The Web site describes her as ``a lively and outgoing'' doctoral student who had a full fellowship to attend the rigorous program that primarily trains students to become business school professors.

Neighbors in the quiet neighborhood near Fitler Square described her as an attractive, friendly woman who sometimes greeted them from her balcony.

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