OKLAHOMA CITY -- Friday morning 94-year-old Evelyn Goodell was beaten during a home invasion for the third time. She died last night from her injuries. Her neighbors and police are eager to find her attacker as the case now turns from assault to homicide.
Neighbor Frank Herndon says, “I think it’s the same guy and so does everybody else. I have a lot of officers that are friends. But he just got bolder.”
Neighbor Frank Herndon has been in contact with police officers all weekend and says this case has been especially upsetting. And now, with news of Evelyn’s death, everyone wants justice. Police need the community's help to track down a suspect.
Sgt. Jennifer Wardlow says, "The only suspect information that we have at this time is a white male with a thin build. That`s all we have right now. Obviously this is a neighborhood. There are possibly people who saw something out of the ordinary, saw a car or a person walking around that didn't belong in the neighborhood. We are asking all of those people to contact the robbery unit so that we can get tips and solve this case."
Herndon is encouraging his neighbors to speak up because he says they all should have done more to prevent this from happening to Evelyn.
"As a community and as a city we have failed this woman,” says Herndon. At 94-years-old she should not have had to go through what she went through."
Keeping his promise he made to Evelyn on Friday, he spent the weekend cutting down the overgrown trees surrounding her home. He says now it was all in vain.
“We failed her. It’s simple,” says Herndon.
After learning of her passing, Herndon spent the morning on her property remembering the many times she brought a smile to his face.
Herndon says, “A good... great woman. A great woman... is the right word... is gone now."
A woman Herndon says was dedicated to the Catholic faith and the birds and bees that took advantage of her trees. He says she was the face of this neighborhood.
“It won`t be the same. No way will it ever be the same. This woman always had a smile and greeted you with a smile,” says Herndon. “She would stop and visit with you. She was just a super woman. I mean... you couldn't beat this woman.”
As she grew older she depended on her neighbors, but of course stayed feisty and independent.
“They don’t want to go to a nursing home or a living center,” says Herndon. T”his is their home. This is where they want to be.”
Herndon wasn't the only neighbor who took care of her.
In a statement from a couple who was just like family to her, Ellen Mercer says "Evelyn was a nature lover, gentle, loving and friendly. A strong and determined person who will be missed by many."
Herndon would love the chance to speak to Evelyn again but says she left knowing exactly how he felt about her.
Herndon says, “She already knows. Me and this woman sat at that breakfast table and ate breakfast, had dinner and lunch. We’ve had our conversations. She knew where I stood and I knew where she stood. We absolutely got along great.”
If you have any information on the attack, call CrimeStoppers at (405) 235-7300.
The elderly are often easy targets, but it doesn't have to be that way.
Oklahoma County Sheriff John Whetsel was in our studios today and had additional information on how to prevent crimes on the elderly.
These stories make us angry and sad. Our seniors want to live independently, but there are risks involved.
He spoke about the Sheriff Department’s ‘Triad” program and how seniors can take part.