Charlotte professor: Sister’s murder leaves hole in everyone’s hearts

Elisa Meryl Slutzky
Elisa Meryl Slutzky Courtesy of the Slutzky family

Howard Slutzky was only 7 when his sister came to his defense against some neighborhood bullies.

He had just returned home from radiation treatment for the leukemia he eventually beat and begged his parents to let him play in the snow during the “Blizzard of ‘78.” He was bald from the treatments.

When several kids put his face into the snow, his 9-year-old sister, Elisa, immediately bolted out the door of their Maryland home and pushed them away.

“That was the kind of sister she was,” he said.

Slutzky, a psychology professor at Johnson & Wales University in Charlotte, recounted those and other memories as he and family members mourned his sister’s killing.

Police went to Elisa Slutzky’s Huntersville home last Wednesday afternoon after her brother said she had not responded to telephone calls.

Slutzky, 47, and Kenneth Dale Henson, 55, of Hickory were found with gunshot wounds, Huntersville police said in a statement on Monday. Both were pronounced dead at the home in the 12300 block of Cross Meadow Road, off McCoy Road, police said.

Police ruled the deaths a murder-suicide based on evidence at the home.

Henson was a police officer in Lenoir and Hickory in the 1990s and earlier before working at tape manufacturer Shurtape in Hickory.

Slutzky’s father, Don Slutzky, said his daughter cut off a relationship with Henson about a year ago. He said he’d met Henson only once.

He said his daughter helped “hundreds if not thousands” of people as a weight-loss consultant.

Elisa Slutzky was born in Philadelphia and grew up in Maryland.

She was so good as a Jenny Craig weight-loss consultant in Maryland that countless people sought her out over others, her brother said. That’s because she was compassionate and genuinely cared for them, he said.

“I hope she is at rest and she is beyond the trauma at this point,” Howard Slutzky said. “There is a hole in her family and friends and anybody she knew that will never be filled.”

Elisa Meryl Slutzky’s family will hold her interment service on Friday in Philadelphia, Pa., where she was born.

Donations can be made online in her memory to the Beagle Freedom Project or The Humane League.

Joe Marusak: 704-358-5067, @jmarusak