The death of Ethel Luckau a spry woman who turned 88 this month - is a homicide.

The state medical examiner's office and Salt Lake Police Department have confirmed that Luckau was murdered in her home, 357 E. 17th South, between Aug. 16 and 18.Homicide detective Jim Bell would not say what caused her death, but most of the evidence points to strangulation.

Baffled by her death for nearly two weeks, police have no suspects and are unsure of a motive. But they have renewed efforts to find a prison escapee, whom they talked to earlier and would like to question again.

Luckau's body was discovered by relatives the morning of Aug. 18. She was last seen alive three days earlier - at her birthday party. They called a mortician, who became suspicious and notified police.

Homicide detectives found no blatant indications of homicide at the scene. There was no evidence of forced entry, no sign of sexual assault, and nothing was missing from her home.

But Luckau had suffered several seemingly minor injuries. Her lip and face were swollen. There was bruising on her neck and a cut on her arm. And her eyes appeared to have hemorrhaged in a manner consistent with strangulation.

There were other unusual circumstances, but detectives have requested they be left out of news stories.

Despite all the evidence to indicate foul play, an initial autopsy failed to establish a cause of death. But detectives remained convinced that her death was a homicide. Evidence was sent to a laboratory last week. Those tests came back this week, indicating it was a homicide. Bell declined to elaborate on those tests.