Mystery shrouds murders of elderly couple at Veterans cemetery

Paul and Lidia Marino were gunned down while visiting their son’s grave at Delaware Veterans Memorial Cemetery

The circumstances and motive for the shooting deaths of an elderly couple visiting their son’s grave in Bear earlier this month remain a mystery.

Police have been tight-lipped about information pertaining to the murder of Paul and Lidia Marino of Elkton, Maryland, who were gunned down while honoring their son’s memory at the Delaware Veterans Memorial Cemetery on May 8.


Sheldon C. Francis of Middletown has been identified by State Police as the suspect in the homicide of the 86-year-old Paul Marino and his 85-year-old wife Lidia.  Francis’ body was located at approximately 4:00 p.m on the date of the incident, in a wooded area near the cemetery in the development of Brennan Estate.

Francis and police had exchanged gunfire before he was found dead from a gunshot wound.  Police would not confirm to TSD if the wound was self-inflicted or as a result of the gun battle.


The Marinos visited the grave of their son, Anthony, at the Delaware Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Bear almost every day for the past three years, according to the Newark Post. Paul Marino himself was a US Army veteran, and their son had been laid to rest at the cemetery in 2017.

“It was like a regimen. Mom and Dad visited my brother’s grave every single day, without fail, unless there was inclement weather. They usually went there in the morning,” the couple’s son, Ray Marino, 60, told the Post.


The tragic case has raised more questions than answers so far.  These include:

Was there any connection between the Marinos and and Francis?

Police say there is no known connection.

Was this just some random attack? What was the motive for the killings?

Investigators have “no information on a possible motive.”


Did Francis have a criminal record? Was he known to police?

Police would not provide any details on the subject, directing us to FOIA the information.

Has it been determined if Francis was killed by police or did he end his own life?

A State Police spokesperson said this information is “part of the ongoing investigation.”

Anyone with information regarding the incident is asked to contact Det. M. Ryde by calling 302-698-8557.

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