Death of woman found inside burning northeast Harris County home ruled homicide

Because a large amount of blood was inside the bedroom, Sue Stagner's children suspected foul play. Now they know it was murder
December 16, 2013 8:14:17 PM PST
A family's worst suspicions were realized when a fire investigation turned into a homicide investigation.

Because a large amount of blood was inside the bedroom, Sue Stagner's children suspected foul play. Now they know it was a murder.

As her family was preparing for Stagner's visitation and funeral, her daughter, Donna Hawks, got a call that made a sad story even more devastating.

"It is beyond words. It is a bad nightmare," Hawks said.

Stagner, a 72-year-old grandmother and great grandmother, was initially believed to have died in a fire at her home. Now investigators have revealed that her death was no accident. Wounds were found on her head neck and chest by the medical examiner. Stagner was stabbed to death, and the fire was set to cover it up.

"She would have given you the shirt off her back, the last dollar in her pocket," Hawks said.

This was not the sort of death expected for a woman who spent her life raising three children on her own, while always finding a way to help those around her. Calls have come in from people telling stories of her kindness.

"She'd slip me couple of dollars to go buy a coke because I was hot and sweaty and there was sweat running down my face and I never knew that. But that's the person my mama was," Hawks said.

There was a flash of hope Monday when some arrests were made close to the crime scene. They turned out to be unrelated, but Stagner's family believes there will be justice for the woman they love.

"I hope they catch this person or people. I don't want any other family to go through what we're going through," Hawks said.

Visitation for sue Stagner is Tuesday night. Her funeral is on Wednesday.

Anyone with information about the identity of the suspect is asked to contact Crime Stoppers of Houston at (713) 222-TIPS (8477).

Crime Stoppers will pay up to $5,000 for any information called in to the 713-222-TIPS (8477) or submitted online at www.crime-stoppers.org that leads to the filing of felony charges or arrest of the suspect in this case. Tips can also be sent by text message. Text TIP610 plus your tip to CRIMES (274637). All tipsters remain anonymous.

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