Doris Gooden

Elderly woman, 88, found killed in her own home; suspect on the loose

An 88-year-old Alabama woman was found dead in her home on Wednesday and authorities are trying to locate the suspect, who remains elusive.

ABC 33 reports that officers found Doris Gooden lying lifeless on her bedroom floor in her home off of the 3200 block of Avenue D in Ensley, on Wednesday at around noon. Birmingham Fire pronounced her dead at the scene. It’s still unclear exactly how the victim died but authorities are treating the case as a homicide.

Birmingham officers reported that the victim’s grandson lived with her. He’s been taken in for questioning, but so far, no arrests have been made.

“Whoever this individual is doesn’t have heart,” Birmingham police Lt. Sean Edwards told AL.com. “It’s pretty cruel….It’s very unusual. We normally don’t have elderly people being harmed in their homes.”

Gooden was a deaconess at the Pleasant Hills Baptist Church. Rev. Ozell Bates, the pastor of the church, said that she was one of the oldest members of the congregation.

“It’s shocking. She’s going to be missed very, very much.We thank God for loaning her to us for 35 years.”

A member of the church, Peggy Smith, said she was somewhat of a caregiver to Gooden and became concerned after she couldn’t reach her by phone on Tuesday. Smith called Gooden’s grandson, who informed her that his grandmother kept the back door of her home unlocked in case he needed to get inside. He said he was at a doctor’s appointment and wasn’t able to check, but he attempted to call as well and didn’t get a response.

Smith walked into Gooden’s home through the back door, called out Gooden’s name, but didn’t get a reply. She said she looked in the bedroom but the lights were off, so she left. She called Gooden’s grandson again, who said he would check himself. He walked into the bedroom after arriving at the home, and found Gooden deceased.

Birmingham Police Chief A.C. Roper vowed to keep investigating until the person responsible for Gooden’s death is found and held accountable.

“Every homicide causes us great concern, but when a child or an elderly person is victimized, it goes to a different level. It’s difficult to explain, but that’s where we are..It’s extremely concerning there are no obvious signs of forced entry which could mean she was familiar with this heartless criminal. Every possibility is on the table and we won’t rest until we bring justice to this family.”

Anyone with any information is urged to contact Birmingham homicide detectives at 205-254-1764 or Crime Stoppers at 205-254-7777.

[Feature Photo: Family Handout]