CASCADE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) - The 89-year-old woman found dead last week in her Cascade Township retirement home was strangled until she stopped breathing, the Kent County Sheriff's Office announced Monday.
A relative told 24 Hour News 8 on Monday evening she cannot imagine who could have taken Mary Morrison's life.
Investigators do not have any suspects either, Undersheriff Jon Hess said. "We're not eliminating anybody or any group that we're looking at for this."
Morrison's body was discovered last week Tuesday after she did not come to a common area for breakfast, investigators said at the time.
The family member described Morrison as a wonderful, loving Christian woman who would be there for anyone who needed her. She regularly dined with her extended family on Sunday, the relative told 24 Hour News 8 Monday evening.
Staff members are Sentinel Pointe were her family too, the family member said. She said they treated Morrison well and the 89-year-old loved them.
And it was members of the staff who were checking on Morrison, investigators said last week, when they found her body.
The Kent County sheriff's office reported the case as a homicide but did not report how the 89-year-old died.
On Monday, investigators met with Morrison's Sentinel Pointe neighbors and told them she was strangled.
"One of the concerns a lot of them had was what really was the cause of death," Hess said. "There were a lot of rumors going around," he said and investigators had to take care of initial interviews and other tasks before the cause was released.
Sentinel Pointe residents "are concerned as you would be if this was my neighborhood or your neighborhood if you had something happen," the undersheriff said. "We told them how much we cared for them. We're concerned about them. How we know this has affected them deeply."
Hess recalled the community healing ceremony that followed a series of deadly shootings on Grand Rapids' northeast side earlier this month.
The retirement home, too, is "a community. And it's good that they're sticking together, that they're talking, they're asking questions," he said. "It's healthy."
Investigators are not releasing more details about how Morrison died. Hess said while he hopes more follow, tips have been coming in -- including from Sentinel Pointe on Monday.
"The science and the forensics -- as that comes in, hopefully that'll give us some things to put with other pieces and we can eventually put this puzzle together," he said.
Authorities continue to investigate the homicide. Anyone with information is asked to call the Kent County Sheriff Department at 616-632-6125 or Silent Observer at 616-774-2345.
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