Elderly woman found dead in burning house suffered blunt force trauma to head, autopsy finds
MURRAY — An 85-year-old woman found dead in a burning house over the weekend died from blunt force trauma to her head, according to an initial autopsy report from the Utah State Medical Examiner's Office.
The body of Shirley Sharp was found on a bed in her home, 20 E. Winchester St. (6400 South), early Saturday morning.
As of Tuesday, homicide investigators from the Murray Police Department had not made an arrest or identified a possible suspect.
"They need to catch this man. Somebody that can do this, in my opinion, doesn't have a soul. And they're capable of doing anything to anyone at any time. Shirley could be anybody's grandma," her step-granddaughter Micah Dykman said.
On Tuesday, Dykman and her family continued to mourn Sharp's death. But she said the family was at peace knowing that she was now reunited with her husband, who died 15 years ago of cancer. Shirley and Richard Sharp were married more than 60 years, Dykman said.
"We try not so much to think about how she died and how horrific and horrible and senseless it is. We try to think about how wonderful she was, and her life, and the fact that more than anything about Shirley, she loved her husband, Richard," she said. "To hear her talk about him was always wonderful. Because that's what love is.
"No matter what this evil person did to her, he can't take away the fact she'll be with her family forever," Dykman said.
Just before 6 a.m. Saturday, Utah Transit Authority police officers stopped a vehicle at 75 W. 5300 South. But the man sped off in the middle of the conversation with the officers.
Officers had the license plate information from the vehicle by that time and traced it back to Sharp's house. When they arrived, they found smoke coming from the residence and called the fire department.
The small fire was also started in the bedroom where Sharp's body was found, said Murray police detective Kenny Bass.
It was unknown Tuesday how the suspect got into Sharp's home. The vehicle UTA officers stopped was later found abandoned.
"It doesn't make sense. Who does something like this, and why?" Dykman asked. "It's just ridiculous that something like this happens."
Sharp, who live in the house for more than 60 years, was an expert seamstress, Dykman said, and had fixed a dress for her just days earlier. And she loved working in her garden.
"She's just the biggest part of our lives — the anchor," Dykman said.
Dykman said Sharp worked hard, lived right, remained feisty and was a fashionable dresser until the end.
"She never stopped (working) because she felt like, 'Well, I'm alive. I need to be doing something,'" she said.
Anyone with information on the incident can call police at 801-840-4000.
Contributing: Mike Anderson
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