Dominatrix probed in bizarre scuba death of CEO

Posted: September 13, 2011

Upper Darby police have yet to close their inquiry into last month's odd death of engineer Peter Stelzenmuller.

That is partly due to how and where Stelzenmuller was found: clad in a scuba suit in the corner of his attic.

Investigators are also intrigued by the bizarre history of Stelzenmuller's girlfriend, Edythe Maa, who reported finding his body Aug. 18, Police Superintendent Michael Chitwood said.

In 2008, Maa was working as a dominatrix when her boyfriend, a New York lawyer, was fatally shot near her Philadelphia apartment by an angry former client. The killer then kidnapped and sexually assaulted Maa before killing himself after a nine-hour standoff with police.

Today, using the name "Jade Vixen," Maa describes herself online as a "fetish model" who likes latex clothing. Chitwood said her website also makes mention of erotic oxygen deprivation.

Chitwood stressed that police "don't have anything to say that this was foul play at this time," and that Stelzenmuller's body showed no bruises or other injuries. Determination of the cause of death is pending toxicology results, he said.

"I think you have to look at all the circumstances," Chitwood said. "When you look at [Maa's] history of sadomasochism, and find some stuff on her website about oxygen deprivation and all that, you need to find out if it's accidental or something else."

Maa could not be reached for comment.

Police were called to the couple's Drexel Hill home about 11:30 p.m. Aug. 18. Stelzenmuller, 49, lay dead in the attic near a cutup scuba suit and a mask with two tubes protruding from it, Chitwood said.

Maa, 29, told police she had just found Stelzenmuller and had cut the suit off him. She said she last had seen him that morning when leaving to go out with a friend from New York.

When she returned at 8 p.m., she said, she assumed Stelzenmuller was still at a concert at the Tower Theater with his brother and friends.

William Stelzenmuller told police he had stopped by the house early that evening. The lights were off and when no one answered the door, he left, Chitwood said.

The brother returned after the concert to ask about his brother, Chitwood said.

"According to her, she thought he was with his brother," Chitwood said. "Then she ran up to the attic, the only place she hadn't looked yet, found him, and screamed down to the brother."

Peter Stelzenmuller's obituary described him as the head of Penn Avionics, a firm that repairs electronics on private planes. It listed Maa, "his close companion," among his survivors.

The obituary gave Stelzenmuller's cause of death as "an accident at home while testing scuba equipment he planned to use on vacation in Mexico."

Chitwood said he was not buying that.

"Looking at the scene, looking at her history, we are leaning toward some kind of autoerotic deal. It doesn't make sense to be geared up in scuba gear in the corner of an attic," Chitwood said.

"It's strange, and we are handling it with caution and concern."


Contact staff writer Larry King at 215-334-0446, lking@phillynews.com, or @KingInq on Twitter.

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