Sordid Tale of Sex, Death and Suicide in MontCo

Man commits suicide, then police find his girlfriend murdered in their apartment.

Nothing about the situation Jimmy Marlin of Bridgeport watched unfold Saturday could have been expected.

“It’s weird, it's so close. Kids and everything in the same little building, everybody uses one entrance. You just don't expect it,” said Marlin Monday night.

It was late Saturday afternoon when Marlin said police showed up, knocked on his neighbor’s door and discovered that neighbor, 42-year-old Michelle Kavenaugh, dead inside.

“I went downstairs, doing wash, and something smelled funny…they wouldn’t say much. When they opened the door finally, it stunk,” said Marlin.

Kevin Steele, Montgomery County 1st Assistant District Attorney, said Kavenaugh had been dead for days when she was found.

“Detectives, after they arrived on scene, found that she had been strangled,” said Steele.

Prosecutors said they only arrived at the ground floor apartment to notify Kavenaugh that her boyfriend, 43-year-old James Goeke was dead.

He hanged himself from the Dannehower Bridge Saturday afternoon, according to police who witnessed the suicide.

The officers were responding to 911 calls about a suicidal man on the bridge, according to investigators.

By the time officers got to the other side they say Goeke had jumped and the rope they say he tied around his neck decapitated him.

“He committed suicide and said in a note that it (his girlfriend's death) had been an accident,” said Steele.

Goeke took responsibility for his live-in girlfriend’s death in the handwritten suicide note left on a computer table in the apartment, according to prosecutors.

The note read: "I'm sorry. It was an accident. It was too late to save her. I'm going to join her now. I'm sorry." The name James Goeke was signed below the statement.

Based on evidence, investigators are looking at the possibility that Kavenaugh's death may have occurred during a consensual sexual relationship between the two where Kavenaugh may have been strangled unintentionally, according to Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Ferman.

There is a memorial growing outside the apartment the two once shared.

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