MISHAWAKA — Police say the person who broke into a home and stabbed and killed an 84-year-old woman was cut in the process, and they’d like the public’s help in finding the suspect.
On Thursday, police discovered the body of Lois Hickey inside her home in the 300 block of East Donaldson Street, after a neighbor noticed the woman had not been seen in days.
An autopsy conducted Friday showed Hickey died by “sharp force injures,” said Lt. David Wells, assistant commander of the Metro Homicide Unit, and included stab wounds to her upper torso area.
Wells said police could not provide many details about the case without jeopardizing their investigation, but said that blood believed to be from Hickey’s attacker was also found at the scene.
Wells said he could not guess how big the cut was or where it occurred on the attacker’s body, but that the blood at the scene indicated the attacker had bled profusely.
He asked that anyone who has noticed someone with an unexplained cut call homicide investigators at 574-235-5009 or Crime Stoppers at 574-288-STOP.
Police also on Thursday found Hickey’s 2002 gold Saturn — believed to have been stolen from her home after her death — parked in South Bend near the Courtyard Apartments, which are located at the corner of 26th Street and Jefferson Boulevard.
Chief Deputy Prosecutor Ken Cotter said blood from the scene has been sent to the Indiana State Police lab for DNA testing, and will be tested against DNA samples already in the state’s database.
The problem, Cotter said, “is that most people’s DNA hasn’t been collected.”
VICTIM LIVED ALONE
Although reluctant to release many details of the crime, Wells said it’s likely Hickey had been dead for three or four days, and that her car had been abandoned for about the same time.
With no known suspect, Wells said it was hard to speculate on what led to the crime, but added there was no indication that Hickey knew her attacker.
Instead, a broken window at the home is believed to be how the attacker entered, possibly to burglarize the home.
A neighbor noticed the home’s broken window after going to the residence to check on Hickey, who lived alone. The neighbor told police she became concerned after seeing no lights on at the home.
According to Wells, police could find no local relatives for Hickey, and were able to track down two living relatives out of state.
The stabbing death of Hickey less than a week after a 33-year-old woman was found stabbed in the throat behind a Low Bob’s Discount Tobacco store on Lincoln Way East in Mishawaka.
But Wells said the two stabbing appear to have nothing in common and are not believed to be connected.
“There’s no indication whatsoever that these two cases are connected,” Wells said.
Staff writer Dave Stephens: