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Police: Mother and 4-year-old daughter found dead in Hagerstown hotel

The motive for the crime remains unclear, police said.

HAGERSTOWN, Md. — Police are trying to determine what happened after a mother and her young daughter were found dead in a Hagerstown hotel room Wednesday afternoon. 

Officers with the Hagerstown Police Department responded to APM Hotel and Suites at 431 Dual Highway around 4:20 p.m. Wednesday. At the scene, officers found two people suffering from apparent gunshot wounds in a hotel room. The a woman and girl were pronounced dead at the scene.

"We believe this was a targeted and deliberate crime," Hagerstown Police wrote in a Facebook post Wednesday.

Police identified the victims as 40-year-old Elise Wars and her 4-year-old daughter Khori Ashton. The two were staying at the hotel since at least June, according to Priscilla Dorsey, her best friend of more than 30 years. 

"That was my best friend, that was my sister and family," Dorsey said. "It hurts. It really hurts."

The suspect, identified as Javon Hines, was arrested the next day in Elkridge without incident with the help of other law enforcement partners. Detectives described him as an acquaintance.

A motive was unclear. 

Joseph Maryland, who lived next door to Wars, said he did not hear anything, but was told to stay in his room as police conducted their investigation.

"That little girl didn't deserve it," Maryland said. "Neither did her mother, but that girl was innocent."

Amber Simmons, who knew Wars since they were teenagers, responded to the scene after her sister received a call from hotel management. 

"They called her because the hotel staff realized they hadn't seen her or Khori and they had seen them everyday," Simmons said. "She was supposed to be going to Baltimore and said she would call me, but never did."

Friends say the last time they heard from Wars was on Monday. 

Wars grew up as an only child in Frederick and her parents have passed away, per her friend Shannon Monique. 

Everyone WUSA9 spoke to agreed that Khori was an inspiration to her mother. The two had an unbreakable bond.

"Nothing meant more to her than Khori though," Monique said. "She re-formatted her entire life around Khori. She had a heart  of gold."

The investigation is active and ongoing, according to police. Anyone who may have additional information about what happened is asked to call Detective Dietz at jdietz@hagerstownpd.org or 240-313-4350.

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