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Woman kills ex-landlord with hammer after he confronted her about forged checks, prosecutors say

Xiu Fang Ke, 43, was ordered to be held without bail on a murder charge Wednesday in connection with the death of Leonard Garber, 65.

A Massachusetts woman allegedly beat her former landlord to death with a hammer and wrapped his body in a curtain after he found out she was forging checks in his name and had stolen over $40,000, officials said. 

Xiu Fang Ke, 43, of Newton, was arrested and arraigned on a murder charge Wednesday in connection with the death of her former landlord Leonard Garber, 65, the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office said in a statement Wednesday. 

Garber’s family reported him missing on Monday and Newton police visited his home to conduct a wellness check, but couldn't find him. Police made two subsequent visits to his home on Tuesday and discovered his body. 

The body was wrapped in a curtain and found under construction materials and other heavy items, the release said. 

“Based on the preliminary assessment, it appears that the body may have been there for more than one day and that it had been placed in such a way as to conceal it,” officials said.

It was later determined that Garber and Ke had been spending time together and that Ke had “allegedly been forging checks from the victim’s accounts,” stealing more than $40,000, the release stated.

When Garber became aware of the theft, he allegedly confronted Ke and “she allegedly struck and killed him and then attempted to hide the body.”

In the investigation, police combed through financial records and surveillance footage from Garber’s home, which showed an Asian female, later identified as Ke, entering his home in the days before his body was found. 

Prosecutors said Ke was a tenant of Garber’s several years ago at a different property, not where the attack took place.

Ke allegedly confessed to the killing after she was called to police headquarters — saying she used a hammer in the attack, prosecutors said, according to NBC Boston.

“During the interview the defendant admitted that she had stolen checks from Leonard Garber and that she had killed him,” Assistant District Attorney Julie Kunkel said in court Wednesday. “She later stated that she had used a hammer and hid his body in the location where it was eventually found by police.”

Prosecutors also said there was evidence she had stolen checks before and owed debts. 

“The defendant sent out a message on a group chat admitting that she had stolen the money, that she owed gambling debts and that she wanted to end her own life,” Kunkel said in court. 

Ke was ordered to be held without bail Wednesday. It's not immediately clear if she has a lawyer.