From Staff Reports
KEYSER – West Virginia State Police are continuing to investigate the Saturday home invasion and severe beating of an 86-year-old New Creek woman, and are hopeful that a "person of interest" currently under investigation may prove to be the assailant.
A spokesman for the Keyser detachment of the West Virginia State Police said Thursday that investigators are "working on a good lead and are at a critical point" in the investigation.
The official said police have contacted a person of interest who may have been involved in the crime, and are hopeful that further investigation will establish the individual as a suspect, which relates to a higher level of certainty as to involvement in the case.
"Right now we have a person we are interested in who may have been involved in it," the spokesman said.
Police said the case is a top priority, not only for the concern it has caused in the community, but for the brutal nature of the crime.
Troopers responded at 8:43 p.m. Saturday to the incident, which occurred in a home off of U.S. 220 near Wal Mart. According to police the assailant forced his way into the residence after knocking on the door, beat the elderly occupant, who lives alone, and stole cash and jewelry.
Police also reported Thursday that they believe more than one individual was involved in the crime.
As the investigation continues, police urged area residents to be extra vigilant about securing their homes. Doors should remain locked at all times, and should not be opened – even a crack – until the person knocking or ringing the bell can be verified as a known acquaintance.
In the Saturday assault, he assailant first made contact with the victim by knocking on the door and claiming that there was a gas leak inside the residence that needed to be repaired. The woman refused to allow the man in, but he forced his way through the door and beat her before searching the home for valuables.
Police are hopeful that an arrest will be made soon. "We want to get these people and make them pay for what they did," the spokesman said. "That woman was beaten so bad, she could have died."