7:24 PM EST, December 25, 2012
The family of an elderly woman found murdered in her Elkhart home says she was brutally beaten.
And we've learned from the Elkhart County Prosecutor that a 17-year-old has been arrested in the case.
Norma Hopper, 76, was found dead in her home on Michael Drive Friday morning. A coroner ruled her death a homicide but police haven't released any details about the case.
According to Hopper's niece, who found her body in the bedroom, the crime scene was "brutal." She said the person who did this is “evil.”
The family believes the person who murdered her got in through a back bedroom window.
For a while, police were searching for a car. They say the 1998 Chevy Lumina was taken from Hopper's home.
It was found on Sunday, although police aren't saying how.
The Elkhart County Sheriff's department said they arrested someone on Sunday. According to the prosecutor’s office, the 17-year-old male has not been formally charged but is being held without bond.
After a search of Elkhart County Jail records, the only 17-year-old male arrested and booked into the jail for murder on Sunday is Luis Bailey.
The Jail records say he has a court date Thursday at 8:30.
Police and the prosecutor’s office won't say whether Bailey is the suspect tied to Hopper's murder.
Hopper’s niece said she was always helping someone and loved puzzles and crafts.
Ruth Hamilton, who lives right next door to Hopper, said her neighbor was sick with cancer and undergoing chemotherapy.
Hamilton described Hopper as an independent person who never asked for help and always tried to help others.
"She'd do anything for anybody," Hamilton said, "she was an angel, she was a gracious lady."
Hamilton, who has lived on Michael Drive for 29 years, said the neighborhood has been quiet the last few years. She's still trying to process what happened just feet from her porch.
"It's terrible, it's scary," she said.
Stay with WSBT News and WSBT.com. We'll bring you the latest as we continue to learn more.
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