Man beats elderly neighbor, sets house on fire with her inside: Cops

An elderly Virginia woman is recovering and her suspected attacker is facing attempted murder charges following an investigation into a residential fire Friday morning.

According to WAVY, police responded to the Highland Springs home just before 6 a.m. and found the victim, identified by neighbors as a 78-year-old woman, inside.

When a rescue crew transported the woman to safety, they noticed she appeared to have been physically assaulted. She was taken to an area hospital with injuries not expected to be life-threatening.

One neighbor told reporters what he witnessed Friday morning.

After waking up to the flashing lights of emergency vehicles, Stanley Fitzgerald said he looked outside and saw his neighbor’s dog in the yard, which he noted was out of the ordinary. Then he said he saw the victim.

“When they brought her out, poor thing, her face was beat, I mean so bad — and blood all over her where somebody went in there and beat her and then set her house on fire,” said Stanley Fitzgerald.”

WTVR reported that police identified 39-year-old Wendyll Troy Brownie as a suspect and arrested him Saturday. He is reportedly facing a charge of attempted murder.

The CBS affiliate also reported that Brownie lives on the same block as the victim.

Another neighbor, Curtis Cooper, claimed the woman told him just days before the fire that she caught someone peering into her house.

“Why would somebody want to hurt a little old lady?” he asked.

Authorities say the investigation is ongoing, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Brownie is expected to make his first court appearance Monday morning.

[Featured image: Henrico County Sheriff’s Department]