Essie McVey, a widow formerly of Cloverdale, died Thursday of injuries she sustained in an assault at her Autumn Glen Village Condos residence on Greencastle's Northeast Side.
She died at Methodist Hospital, Indianapolis, where she had been taken off life support on Wednesday.
An autopsy was conducted Friday, Greencastle City Police Assistant Chief Brian Hopkins said, indicating results probably would not be available until after the Labor Day holiday.
Authorities are hoping the autopsy, conducted in Indianapolis by the Marion County Coroner's Officer, will determine an exact cause of death.
On Friday, neither Hopkins nor Chief Tom Sutherlin would confirm reports the woman had been shot, preferring to wait until the findings of the autopsy were available.
"Now it's actually a homicide investigation," Chief Sutherlin told the Banner Graphic. "The next biggest statement in the case will be after learning the results of the autopsy. Hopefully the autopsy will prove exactly how the lady died."
Authorities believe the incident occurred during the mid-morning hours of Tuesday (Aug. 30).
A home health care nurse, making a routine visit at Mrs. McVey's home reportedly found her on the floor of the residence about 10:30 a.m. and called 911.
Assistant Chief Hopkins said the first police officer on the scene had been dispatched there to assist the Operation Life ambulance unit.
"The scene looked suspicious," Hopkins said, "so detectives were called in."
However, the condo showed no sign of forced entry, Chief Sutherlin confirmed.
He indicated that although police are asking for the public's help in the case, police don't want to disclose the exact address of the victim's home.
"We don't have these cases every day," Sutherlin said thankfully. "We want to protect the evidence and the crime scene. Like everyone else, we want to catch the person that did this."
Unfortunately, despite what rumors may have indicated locally, police have no suspect or motive in the case.
"We can't tell you anything about a suspect," Hopkins offered, "because we don't have any suspects. There's not even a clear motive of why it happened."
Anyone who has any information about anything unusual they might have observed in the Autumn Glen Village Condos area Tuesday morning is asked to contact GPD at 848-1539 or 848-1561.
"Even a minute thing could turn out to be of interest to us," Hopkins said. "We want to hear from anyone who lives around there who might have seen anything suspicious or anything out of character or out of the ordinary."
Meanwhile GPD officers and five Indiana State Police investigators are continuing to follow leads in the case and have been working 20-hour days compiling evidence, talking to neighbors and gathering anything of potential interest and importance in the homicide case.
However, bad information and continued rumors can only hinder that, police said.
Even a TV newscast Thursday night on WRTV, Indianapolis, served to fuel the most frightening of those rumors.
Chief Sutherlin assured the public -- especially those in the senior living community -- that a story about Mrs. McVey's finger or fingers being cut off in order to steal her rings is "totally false."
Also untrue, Hopkins pointed out, is that the victim was wheelchair-bound. She used a walker, he said, but was not confined to a wheelchair as has been reported elsewhere.
One thing neighbors and others have been absolutely correct about is Mrs. McVey herself.
"From all accounts, she was a really nice lady," Assistant Chief Hopkins said. "That's what I've gotten from everyone I've talked to. Apparently she took everybody's kids under her wing, especially when she was younger. I had a number of people tell me 'I used to visit her all the time.'"
No information about a funeral service for Mrs. McVey is yet available.