Gruesome Murder in Madera

December 12, 2008 6:04:46 PM PST
Madera Police say someone used a sharp object to beat 69 year old Ethel Hilliard to death Thursday morning.Her body was found inside her home on Wallace Avenue near "B" Street.

Police say Ethel Hilliard was a church usher who was well-liked by everyone who knew her. But there was no sign of forced entry at her home, so now detectives are hoping the public may be able to provide some answers.

69 year old Ethel Hilliard lived in this quaint blue home and cared for her elderly mother, who lives just across the street. Hilliard's mom and sister returned to the home Friday afternoon, but were too distraught to speak on camera. Her best friend who lives nearby was also devastated when Hilliard's husband told her about the murder.

Lurene Perkins said, "He said that Ethel is gone, and I said gone where, and he said, she's gone ma, and it just knocked me for a loop."

Madera Police say Hilliard's husband lives separately from his wife, but the two are by all accounts very happily married. They attend this neighborhood church together and he helps her with household chores. Officers say he had stopped by to take out the trash Thursday afternoon when he discovered his wife's body inside her home.

Det. Shawn Bushey of the Madera Police Dept. said, "He thought she just wasn't breathing. He called 911, an operator told him to roll her over to start CPR, once he rolled her over, he noticed her face was covered in blood."

Detective Shawn Bushey says the preliminary autopsy results show the mother of two was struck several times in the head with a sharp object like a machete or an ax. But there was no sign of forced entry or a home invasion robbery.

"She had valuables that were still left behind, nothing was in disarray in her house," said Det. Bushey.

Now police and Lurene Perkins are hoping someone will come forward with answers.

"If they can catch him, Lord knows I want them to catch him because this is awful," said Perkins.

Detective Bushey is asking anyone with information in this case to call him directly at 559-675-4244.

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