Marilyn Oldham, 66, was found dead in her home just after noon Sunday. Her son-in-law had gone to check on her.
He became concerned when she did not answer the door. He noticed an open window where an air conditioning unit had been pulled out.
Deputies found Oldham dead in the room. There were signs of a struggle, but officials have not revealed the cause of death.
The body has been sent to Chapel Hill for an autopsy by the medical examiner's office.
Gulf is a quiet community, and the county sheriff said he can't recall the last time a homicide occurred there.
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