DALLAS — An elderly woman who hadn't been seen since Thursday was found dead in her East Dallas home Sunday.
Police are asking for help after determining that she was murdered.
The victim, 79-year-old Avanell Cowgill, had lived in the home in the 11300 block of Earlywood Drive for more than 50 years. Officers who went to check on her welfare found the back door was open and Cowgill was dead inside.
Police had been called to the address after neighbors saw newspapers piling up in the front yard. They described a woman who was sweet, and who could always be seen working in her yard. She was known to be devout and a church regular.
"It's just outrageous. The entire thing is outrageous, that someone would go into her house or that someone would do anything to her," said neighbor Jerry Calder.
"She was a sweet old lady,' added Sam Tucker. "She was just a quiet, wonderful woman that would never hurt a fly."
Investigators said there were signs that the killer had stolen things from the residence, but they weren't sure what was taken, or when Cowgill was killed.
One neighbor was reported to have spoken with Cowgill on Thursday.
Anyone with information about this case or who has observed suspicious activity in the neighborhood southwest of Northwest Highway and Jupiter Road is urged to contact Dallas police at 214-671-3647.