Local News

Search is on in Franklin Co. for Attackers

Posted Updated

FRANKLINTON — A 90-year-old Franklin County woman isdead and her housemate is in the hospital after both were severely beatenduring an apparent robbery. Now, the search is on for their attacker orattackers.

Residents of the small community of Franklinton were consumed byanxiety Wednesday afternoon as word spread of the crime. Police saysomeone apparently broke into the house, in an apparent robbery attempt,and brutally beat Mary Alice Harris and her 88-year-old friend, GrahamPerry.

Harris was killed. Perry is in stable condition at Duke MedicalCenter.

Raymond Sneed says he's know Harris for 20 years. Word that Miss Alicewas robbed and killed in her home, and her live-in friend was beaten,leaves Sneed and the sheriff's department deeply concerned.

"If you live 90 years on this Earth, you shouldn't have to die this way,"explains Franklin County Sheriff Robert Redmond. "It was completelyuncalled for, and was just a brutal thing."

Redmond says the person or persons that got into Harris' home gave hersevere internal injuries. Perry suffered a punctured lung, a broken arm, abroken leg and head injuries.

The SBI is assisting the sheriff's department with the investigation. TheHighway Patrol joined in the search for suspects by helicopter.

Sneed believes Harris got herself in trouble for being kind to nearlyanyone who visited her home.

"If my car broke down or I didn't have any gas money, I could go to MissAlice," explains Sneed. "As long as I paid her back, it wasn't a problem."

An unknown amount of cash was taken from the pair. At this point, thesheriff's department has several possible suspects. Investigators havespoken to Perry at the hospital, but aren't revealing what he said aboutthe crime.

Anyone with leads is asked to call the Franklin County Sheriff'sDepartment.

Editor's Note:Recent studies show that while theelderly are less likely to be victims of violent crime, when they are, ittends to be much more serious.

Less than half a percent of people 65 and older are the victims of violentcrime. However, they are twice as likely as younger people to be hospitalized as a result.

Most crimes against the elderly are for economic gain. Senior citizensare also twice as likely to be attacked at or near their homes as youngervictims.

Source:Department ofJustice