CASCADE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) - For more than a year after 89-year-old Mary Morrison was strangled, Kent County Sheriff's detectives kept her apartment locked up and sealed as a crime scene.
Then, three weeks after the anniversary of her death, and with no apparent leads, they finally opened up her home at Sentinel Pointe Retirement Community.
It was the first time her brother, Lyle Morrison, was allowed into the room where his sister was killed. The family got to go through her belongings.
He kept only a photo album filled with black-and-white memories of his sister and his family from 1936.
"I love this picture," he said as he looked through it. "This is my dad teaching Mary to ride a bike."
Another photo shows her the day she graduated from Grand Rapids Catholic Central High School.
Mary Morrison, who had lived at Sentinel Pointe for more than a decade, was found dead July 19, 2011. She had been strangled with an electrical cord in her apartment.
Her brother says a table was knocked over in her room, as if she had struggled, but he believes she wasn't able to fight much. The figurines in her hutch were undisturbed.
"When that person chose and picked out my sister as someone to kill, they devoted all their time to that purpose," he said. "It would have to be a deviate; it would have to be somebody who took delight in killing somebody."
Detectives haven't said whether she was robbed or whether they've ruled out the possibility it was an inside job.
"My personal feeling is that somebody knew her habits," Morrison said.
They've told Lyle Morrison they've interviewed every resident of the home, along with every employee and some former employees. He said they've told him they have no leads.
On the anniversary of the death, the family gathered at Lyle Morrison's home. They set a place for Mary.
"She always had a glass of wine, so on the anniversary, there was a plate there, and there was a glass of wine," he said.
He said he hopes publicity will lead somebody to call detectives, perhaps with something they've overheard.
"It would be somebody sitting at a bar and having a little bit too much, all of a sudden saying, 'Hey guys, do you realize what I did? I killed somebody and got away with it.'"
And he wants to send a message to his sister's killer:
"In order to save your own soul, I'd recommend that in some way, you make it be known that you did it, and perhaps you'll be able to get some relief in your afterlife."
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