Salt Lake County sheriff's detectives continued Monday to investigate the brutal killing of a Holladay woman who was found dead over the weekend.
Lucile Miner Johnson, 78, was found by her daughter Saturday afternoon. The victim's body was in the hallway of her home at 4284 S. Holloway Drive (1960 East). Investigators believe Johnson was killed late Friday or early Saturday.A preliminary report from the state medical examiner's office confirmed that Johnson died from massive trauma. She was hit several times in the face and head with some kind of blunt instrument and also appeared to have been kicked in the chest, said Sheriff's Capt. Bill A Van Wagenen. The woman's ribs were broken and she suffered a severed aorta, he said.
"It was as brutal as anything I've seen," Van Wagenen said.
Investigators believe the vicious way she was killed indicates that the killer was "angry" at Johnson. "There are some indications she tried to put up a defense," the captain explained, but the woman was small and would have been mostly defenseless.
Detectives also theorize that Johnson may have known the intruder, since there were no signs of forced entry into the home. Jewelry and Johnson's purse were apparently taken during the incident, and deputies were working with family members to determine if more items were missing.
"The house is not trashed by any means, though," Van Wagenen said.
The preliminary autopsy showed no signs of a sexual assault. Detectives, however, are waiting for additional reports from the medical examiner.
Deputies continued to scour the scene and interview people Monday, but they have no suspects in the killing.
Saturday's homicide was the second to occur within unincorporated Salt Lake County so far this year. Last year, the sheriff's office investigated only six homicides within the unincorporated county.
The killing is also the fifth unsolved homicide of an elderly woman during the past nine years. Van Wagenen said detectives will compare this case with the others, but said it does not appear that they are in any way connected.
Anyone who may have seen anything suspicious in the neighborhood over the weekend is encouraged to contact the Salt Lake County Sheriff's office.