Great Britain

Sculptor Nancy Ann Frankel, 92, ‘killed by female family friend, 26, who she took into her home to mentor’

A RENOWNED sculptor was found dead and a young apprentice who lived with her allegedly admitted to killing her. 

When Montgomery County cops arrived at Nancy Ann Frankel’s home on Spruell Drive at around 8:20am on Wednesday to investigate a dead body - 26-year-old Julia Birch allegedly told them that she killed her mentor. 

The investigators soon found the 92-year-old’s body in a bedroom at her Gaithersburg home - which they claim “supported Birch’s statement” - and put the young understudy into custody, according to a release.

Birch allegedly repeated she killed Frankel during a follow-up interview at the police station, and stated that she dialed 911 to report the artist’s passing, the release noted.

Back in January, the gifted artist had reportedly invited Birch to live at her home where she paid rent and learned to sculpt, according to the Daily Beast.

She reportedly had been an acquaintance of Frankel’s family the outlet reported. 

A neighbor admitted Birch acted cagey when they interacted. 

“I only saw that girl maybe three times, but when I saw her, she seemed, like, disconnected,” Julia Yost said in an interview with the Daily Beast. 

“Here, everybody says, ‘Hi’ and ‘Bye,’ but I said, ‘Hi,’ and she just looked at me and kept going.”

She described Frankel as a vivacious soul who shoveled her own snow. 

The sculptor was also known to welcome prospective artists to live in her home and sponge techniques and insights. 

In the 2018 tome Nancy @ Ninety: Seven Decades of Sculpture by Nancy Frankel she was known as “a legendary teacher from Montgomery College.”

The co-author Richard Francis Harteis wrote that after a man named William Meredith suffered a stroke - he convinced Frankel to take him on as a pupil. 

The artist also came from humble roots to achieve Ivy League greatness.

"Nancy's early life began as a waiter in the borscht belt each summer earning her college tuition as an art student at the Temple University and later Columbia,” according to the About Author section of the book. 

“As a young bride, she accompanied her husband to Germany where she continued her studies with Hans Hoffman at the Munich Art Academy.”

The woman became a young widow after her husband “died prematurely after their return to the US” leaving her to raise their two children on her own. 

Frankel raised a “peace-activist daughter” and “architect son” who also welcomed grandchildren. 

In a separate description of Frankel, she is known to be religious was beloved by friends “for her modesty, intellectual honesty, and spiritual authority.”

“She really is something of a ‘wise woman’ and lends her opinion at bible study at the crack of dawn each Thursday morning before returning home to teach.”

Birch remains in custody without bond after being charged with first-degree murder.

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