Northern Virginia is reeling from the murder of a beloved music teacher, Ruthanne Lodato, 59, in her Alexandria home. I have a connection to the victim. We lived in Alexandria before moving to McLean and Ruthanne led the music class for three of my four children. It was a wonderful music class called Music Together Alexandria at the Del Ray United Methodist Church for toddlers. While I only knew her through the class years when my children were toddlers, Ruthanne was a wonderfully warm and giving person. We are all devastated by the news and the community has rallied around the effort to find the man shown in police sketches.
Ruthanne was shot to death when she answered a knock at the door of home — a crime that bore disturbing similarities to the November 2013 killing of Ronald Kirby, the director of transportation planning at the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, and the 2003 shooting of a sheriff’s wife, Nancy Dunning. In this case, however, we have an eyewitness who saw the killer. Another woman, the caregiver for her mother, was wounded in the home but gave a description to the police.
The suspect is described as an older white male, balding with gray hair and a full beard. He was wearing a tan jacket at the time of the shooting.
The loss of Ruthanne is being mourned throughout the city and the statements of children about her work is the greatest testament that anyone could hope for in this life. My memories of Ruthanne is our sitting around in a circle at the Church as she captivated them with different forms of instruments — encouraging them to make music in anyway that they wanted with different objects. The parents played as part of the class and Ruthanne made sure that even the most uptight of us would join the circle. It was truly Music Together and Ruthanne insured that everyone felt welcomed in her circle. What a wonderful person and what a senseless attack.
Anyone with information about the case is urged to call detectives at 703-746-6864.