The morning after an elderly woman was found dead with her throat slashed inside her East Mt. Airy home, two rookie officers walking the beat spotted the woman's missing car, Philadelphia Police said.
Regina Brunner's son found her bludgeoned in her bed just before 11 a.m. Monday inside the first floor bedroom of a rancher-style home along the 300 block of Roumfort Road in East Mt. Airy, police said.
"There is nothing sadder than seeing an 85-year-old female who cannot defend herself -- who's inside of her house -- someone either was let in or forced their way in and beat her and stabbed her to death," said Philadelphia Police Homicide Division Capt. James Clark. "It's very sad, it's very tragic."
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On Tuesday, two officers -- on just their second unsupervised shift -- recovered a 2007 silver Toyota Corolla -- with disabled plates that match the victim's -- along the 3100 block of Stillman Street in North Philadelphia -- that's more than 6 miles from the victim's home. A neighbor said they believed the car was dumped there sometime after midnight.
Police also recovered a wiped-down knife in a church playground close to the crime scene though they have not yet revealed whether it was the same weapon used in the murder. Both the car and the knife will be processed for DNA and fingerprints.
Sources close to the investigation said it appeared robbery was the motive for the attack. There were no signs of forced entry and the home didn't appear to be ransacked, police said.
"Hopefully we will get to the bottom of it very quickly," said Clark.
It appeared that Brunner's ATM card was used at least twice Sunday by more than one person, multiple sources with knowledge of the investigation told NBC10.
No word yet on what might have been found in the car. Police searched the area for possible surveillance video.
Anyone with information on the killing and theft is asked to contact Philadelphia Police.