Pennsylvania police are still searching for a ruthless burglar who beat a 97-year-old woman to death inside her Nanticoke, Pa., home when she returned from a Thanksgiving meal with her family.
Gertrude Price, an independent great-great-grandmother who lived alone, was found dead in her home Friday morning.
She died of “blunt force trauma to the head,” Luzerne County Coroner Bill Lisman said Saturday. Her death has been ruled a homicide.
Her granddaughter Debbie Piper, 56, dropped her off Thursday after she ate Thanksgiving dinner with her family.
Neighbors later noticed that the lights were still on in Price’s home at 11 p.m., when she would normally be in bed.
"She was a nice, quiet lady," neighbor Michael Wright told the Scranton Times-Tribune. "It's kind of upsetting that somebody could do that to some old lady, because she can't defend herself."
When her family could not reach her by phone on Friday they became worried and went to the home.
State trooper Martin Connors said the home invasion appeared to be a random attack.
Investigators say the burglar entered the home through a basement window. Police are still investigating whether anything was taken.
Price leaves behind one daughter, three grandchildren, nine great-grandchildren and eight great-great-grandchildren.
Her family says she lived an active lifestyle, despite her age.
“You couldn’t stop her,” said Piper.
She cooked, cleaned, and shoveled snow herself. Up until a few years ago, she even mowed her lawn.
“She was extremely independent,” Piper said. “We loved her and we’ll miss her a lot.”
No suspects have been identified.
“It’s being looked into as aggressively as any homicide we investigate. This one has a little different twist because it’s a defenseless 97-year-old woman,” said Lt. Richard Krawetz of the state police. “Obviously, people are outraged.”