Police investigate Phila. couple's 'suspicious' deaths

Philadelphia police are investigating the deaths of a retired couple found in their Strawberry Mansion home late Wednesday.

The couple, identified by family members as Algladys Perry, 66, and Rufus Perry, 79, were found dead in a stairwell by daughter Keya around midnight.

Homicide Capt. James Clark said that there were no immediate signs of a cause of death, and that the deaths had been classified as "suspicious." The Medical Examiner's Office will determine a cause of death, he said.

Renee Ross, Rufus Perry's daughter from a previous marriage, said that her sister Keya Perry checked in with her parents every day. When the Perrys failed to answer the phone Wednesday night, Ross said, Keya Perry went to the house on the 2500 block of Spangler Street to check on them.

That's when her sister found her parents lying in the stairwell, Ross said.

Relatives and neighbors described the Perrys as a quiet retired couple who mostly kept to themselves but were nonetheless fixtures on the block.

Algladys Perry, who went by the name Gladys, had worked as a nurse at Hahnemann University Hospital; Rufus Perry also worked at Hahnemann in the dietary department, and held a second job with the city streets department.

The couple's nephew Donald Carlton is the city's deputy streets commissioner for sanitation.

The Perrys had met at Hahnemann in the early 1970s and were married in the house on Spangler Street.

"They both were loving people," Ross said. Before her father fell ill several years ago, she said, he loved to dance to the Motown and jazz records he kept in the basement, and took his wife to movies and dinner often.

On Thursday, family members said they were struggling to understand what had happened to the Perrys.

Chanel Bundy, 26, the Perrys' next-door neighbor, said the couple were careful about whom they let into the house and wouldn't answer the door if they didn't know who was on the front step. She said she didn't hear any noises coming from the house Wednesday night and had seen Rufus Perry about 4 p.m. Wednesday and noticed nothing amiss.

"They were some cool old people," she said.