WESTFIELD, Ind. | Murder charges were filed Thursday in connection with the deaths of a former Lowell woman and her daughter.
Marylyn Pattee Erb, 52, and her 23-year-old daughter Kelley Erb were killed in an apparent home-invasion robbery Dec. 20 in the Westfield, Ind., home, according to a release from police in the central Indiana community.
Christian Rene Haley, 20, of Indianapolis, was charged Thursday with two counts of murder, two counts of felony murder, robbery, burglary and theft in connection with their deaths, police said.
The woman died of blunt force trauma and had visible injuries on their bodies, police said.
Friends of Marylyn and Kelley Erb described them as kind and compassionate women of faith.
Marylyn Erb was a 1979 graduate of Lowell High School.
“She was the sweetest, kindest, most caring person I've ever had the honor to know," classmate Lori Pelton Harrell said. "She was truly a wonderful person, beautiful on the inside and out. I, along with the entire Lowell High School class of 1979, am devastated. It is so incredibly sad.”
Married to Todd Erb, who survives, for 30 years, Marylyn Erb was a homemaker and a member of Grace Church in Noblesville, where she was active in the women's ministry. She grew up in Lowell and earned a degree in nursing from Indiana University.
Kelley Erb was pursuing a degree in early childhood development at Ivy Tech Community College. She previously studied at Indiana Wesleyan University.
Kelley Erb was also a member of Grace Church, where she was active in the children's and young adults' ministries.
Melody Boyle, pastor of Connections for Grace Church, said the church community is deeply mourning the loss.
“The community is heartbroken for the family and for themselves,” Boyle said. “Both women were gentle, soft spoken, just kind and merciful. Everybody that has encountered them and certainly their family knows them to be this way.”
Marylyn Erb was deeply connected to her church community for many years, Boyle said.
Funeral services are set for 1 p.m. today at Grace Church.