Local News

Robbery could be motive in 83-year-old's death

Posted June 23, 2009 10:17 a.m. EDT
Updated June 23, 2009 10:15 p.m. EDT

— Wake County sheriff's investigators are following a number of leads in the apparent slaying of an 83-year-old woman found inside her home.

Sheriff Donnie Harrison also said Tuesday afternoon that, based on the investigation so far, it appeared that robbery was the likely motive in Paula McCance's death. He would not say how she died.

McCance's sister called 911 after she found her in her bed at her 6937 Rock Service Station Road home around 5:30 p.m. Monday, he said.

“I just arrived at my sister's house and I think she's dead,” the sister told a 911 dispatcher.

The sister later said that, "The room where she (McCance) keeps her jewelry has the drawers pulled out."

Sheriff's investigators and agents with the City-County Bureau of Identification were at the scene Monday evening and Tuesday collecting evidence and canvassing the neighborhood for information.

Harrison said McCance's daughter was the last to see her alive around 9 p.m. Sunday evening.

McCance was not in good health and was hearing impaired, he said, and she used a walker to move around. Neighbors and friends said she had a stroke in March and had been living alone. Her sister was supposed move in with her this week, they said.

"This is just a tragedy," Harrison said. "I can't imagine someone even doing this, but we're working 24 hours around the clock. We'll find out who did this."

Harrison urged anyone with information that could help with the investigation to call the sheriff's office.

"The main thing we're interested in is if somebody saw something (Monday) or the night before – anything that looked unusual – a car, people walking, whatever it may be," Harrison said. "We're looking for any lead we can get right now."

Meanwhile, the crime has left neighbors – many elderly – stunned and concerned for their own safety. Harrison said deputies have stepped up patrols in the area until the case is solved.

"It was shocking that it was getting so close to home," neighbor Tim Tharp said. "I'm hoping to get this resolved soon and get some answers."