Death of woman at apartment investigated

September 16, 2010 8:33:30 AM PDT
Police are looking for as many as three people to question in the death of a 60-year-old woman. She was found Wednesday afternoon in her room at a living center for seniors on Burress near Treadway in north Houston. Police are working several leads. As many as three people may be linked to this crime.

Independence Hall is largest affordable housing complex for the disabled in the city of Houston, and until Wednesday, residents thought it was a safe place to live.

"I got a phone call from my brother saying there was a murder over here," said Vivian Jones, who lives at the complex.

The bedridden woman was murdered inside her apartment. Witnesses saw a man running from the scene at around 11:30am Wednesday. The victim's caregiver found her about three hours later.

"She came back to work. She parked her car there, and I waved at her and she went inside," resident James Matta said. "The next minute, I turned around and she's walking out screaming."

At first, police thought the woman may have died of natural causes until marks were spotted on her neck, leading some to believe she may have been strangled.

"The place looks like maybe it was ransacked. The crime scene is limited to the bed and we've got a lot of work to do," said Lt. John Zitzmann of HPD Homicide.

Investigators say there was no sign of forced entry. The door to the woman's room required a pass code, though it's unclear if it was left open. Police have yet to release the motive but have their suspicions.

Police are checking to see if the complex had any type of surveillance equipment. A getaway vehicle was seen in the area at the time. Investigators are working to get more information.

Independence Hall is a 292-unit federally funded complex which serves low-income seniors and disabled people. It is rent-controlled, a non-profit organization and is known for being the largest provider of affordable housing for disabled people in Houston.

Some of the residents there say over the last few months, there have been occasions of crime but nothing as bad as this.


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