Elderly woman found beaten, strangled

HOUSTON Family members called police after they found her in her home on Candlemist near Marcella.

"Once I came in, I saw my aunt laying face down on the floor, blood in her hair, blood on her hands, blood on the floor," said the victim's nephew, Gary Thompson.

Late Saturday night, Thompson was faced with the most terrible discovery imaginable.

"The cord that was wrapped around her neck, that told me someone had strangled her," he said.

His aunt, Mildred Johnson, 86, was murdered in her own home, beaten with a heavy candle-stick, then suffocated and left to die. Police believe the person responsible is her great niece.

"To find out that a family member is linked to it doesn't make matters any better neither," said Thompson.

Friends and family all know Johnson as 'Aunt Tootsie.' They call her the ultimate giver, and despite her great niece's recurring trouble with drugs and prostitution, Aunt Tootsie took her in and provided for her.

"She sent her to school, get her anything she wanted and needed," said Marie Lewis-Hodge, the victim's friend.

Saturday night, Alexis Jones and her companion were arrested down the street from the murder scene when they were spotted in Johnson's car, which police say they stole.

"It's just horrible that you could hurt an elderly person, especially your relative, that was kind and took you in at one time in your life," said a neighbor.

Now, as this family and close neighbors grapple with Johnson's violent death, they have few kind words for their other relative, who's now accused of killing a woman who gave her nothing but love.

"This was my fear. She was an addict. And Tootsie thought she could handle it," said a family member.

Charges against Jones and her companion are still pending. Jones got out of jail on Wednesday on unrelated theft charges.

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