The family of Viola Drath quietly began to sell off her personal possessions this past weekend at the Georgetown home where she was murdered in August 2011. The company that handled the sale, Donna and Daughter of Bethesda, said about half the possessions sold. Others were claimed by family members, and some items still remain in the house on Q Street near Wisconsin Avenue. Her husband, Albrecht Muth, who was charged with the murder, has been kept under observation at Saint Elizabeths Hospital while he awaits trial.
Robert “Rocky” Huber, whose family handled the estate sale, says Drath’s daughter, Fran Drath, contacted them about six weeks ago. “Once we signed the contract she didn’t come back in the house again,” he says. “She said it was too hard for her. I could tell there was a lot of sentiment.”
Huber says that the family asked that the sale be handled with a “very low profile” and that Drath not be identified as the owner of the home. All that was posted on the website was the address—3206 Q Street, Northwest—and photos of the possessions, which included furniture, paintings, china and silver, handbags, jewelry, clothing, and even her shoes. He says there was a steady stream of interested buyers who visited Friday, Saturday and Sunday between the hours of 11 and 4. “We didn’t tell anybody what had happened in the house,” he says. “Some people did ask. I didn’t tell them the whole story. We said it was owned by an older lady who passed away. One person asked me point blank, and I avoided the topic.”
Huber says the whole house was open except for the bathroom where Drath was found dead and an upstairs office. “Those were sealed off,” he says. According to Huber, Muth’s possessions were removed from the house earlier and “sold at auction per his request. I didn’t want to deal with him. I stayed away from him. I heard stories from neighbors and left it at that.” He says there were a few items of Muth’s clothing, but he could not recall whether they included the military uniforms he liked to wear around Georgetown, claiming he was a general in the Iraqi army.
Because the family had removed items that they wanted, Huber says, the house was not fully furnished when the sale began. “In the front bedroom, all that was left was a desk. Everything else had been cleared out, including the bed. There was a middle bedroom that appeared to be her room, in that it was very neat and orderly. I think the front room in the house was his.”
Huber says he didn’t know if the house would now be put on the market. “I spoke with Fran yesterday, and she was not 100 percent clear what was going to happen to the property. The house needs some help.”
The items that remain include a Biedermeier sofa with a reserve of $30,000 and a baby grand piano with a reserve of $2,500. Huber says interested buyers should e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.