Hours after a relative found 94-year-old Elmer Roehrs dead in his Alexandria home, police arrested a suspect in a November burglary at the house.
Authorities ruled Roehrs's death a homicide after an autopsy Thursday, though the cause wasn't announced, and the burglary suspect -- Marie Maybell Johnson, 45 -- has not been charged in that incident, police said.
Roehrs's stepson discovered his body about 6:50 p.m. Wednesday at their home in the 2700 block of Holly Street in the Del Ray neighborhood.
Roehrs apparently suffered trauma to the upper body, authorities said. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Neighbors told News4's Megan McGrath that Roehrs's death stunned them but that the family seemed to have a problem with break-ins and recently installed security equipment. A surveillance camera is aimed at the front door, and floodlights are installed around the sides of the house. Signs state that a security alarm is in place.
A neighbor said that to her knowledge, no other homes had been burglarized. "I think it's been targeted several times, so yeah, it's a little strange," she said.
Johnson, of no fixed address, was charged with burglary and grand larceny for a break-in that occurred Nov. 27, when someone took silverware and electronic equipment. Police arrested her about 3:15 a.m. Thursday following a traffic stop on Duke Street, and she is being held without bond.
Alexandria Mayor Bill Euille often responds to police incidents likely to raise community concern. "This is the type of incident we certainly don't want to have in our community," he said Wednesday night, "...[and] I have every confidence that [police] will get to the bottom of this, and we'll understand what happened and why and bring this case to a close."
Roehrs's wife, 87-year-old Marian Bouk, owns several condos along Richmond Highway that she rents to people in need, helping them get their lives back together, News4's Pat Collins reported. Neighbors said they would often see tenants dropping off rent checks around the first of the month.
Roehrs and his wife eloped to Las Vegas about a decade ago, Collins reported.
His death is the first homicide in Alexandria in 2013. No homicides were reported in Alexandria in 2012.