Late in the evening on July 27, 1990, Edward Friedland returned to his Wendover Hills home to find his wife, Kim Thomas, lying on her stomach, her face turned to one side, on the floor of the dark dining room. Staying fifteen to twenty feet away from the body, he told a 911 operator that, as a doctor, he knew his wife was dead and that she appeared "handcuffed and it looks like someone blew her brains out."
In fact, Thomas, a thirty-two-year-old National Organization of Women activist who had recently adopted a ten-month-old baby with Friedland, had died of blood lost from more than twenty stab wounds to her neck, some of which penetrated to her spinal cord. Her nightgown was hiked up around her waist, exposing bare buttocks, and her legs were widely splayed. The baby, Elliot, was unhurt, but distressed, in the crib in his room. Rags, the family's small terrier, was shut inside the master bedroom.
The case captivated the city for weeks after it occurred and again in 1995 when The Charlotte Observer ran a four-part series on the crime and its investigation. Although the case remains open, legal proceedings assert that the killer is almost surely one of two men: Marion Gales, one of several African-American handymen who at the time wound their way from the nearby low-income neighborhood of Grier Heights to Thomas’s primarily white, middle-class subdivision, or her husband, Friedland.