Reward offered for suspect info in beating death of 82-year-old

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by Catherine Holland

Video report by Tess Rafols

Posted on July 11, 2012 at 8:29 AM

Updated Wednesday, Jul 11 at 9:06 AM

Map: 24th Street and Osborn Road

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PHOENIX -- The Phoenix Police Department is turning to the public for help finding the man who beat an 82-year-old woman to death.

A man broke into Nancy Newton's home in the early morning hours of April 22. That man punched her in the face and then brutally beat her. Once the suspect left, it was about an hour before Newton could call 911 for help.

She died four days later at a local hospital.

Now, nearly three months after Newton's death, police are still trying to find the man responsible.

To that end, Silent Witness is offering a reward of up to $1,000 for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the case.

"We need the community's help at this juncture in the investigation," said Phoenix Police Sgt. Darren Burch. "We don't have leads. We don't have information."

Newton told police that her home had been burglarized just a couple of days prior to the beating. While investigators are not 100-percent sure that burglary is connected to Newton's death, it's a connection they cannot ignore.

"We do know that burglars many times will target their own area where they live," Burch said.

With that in mind, volunteers, officers and members of the Phoenix Police Junior Explorers programs are distributing Silent Witness fliers with details about the case and the reward throughout the neighborhood of 28th Street and Osborn Road. They're going door-to-door to talk to as many residents as possible.

Earlier in the investigation, police released a video showing a man walking by Newton's home at the time of the crime. He's not a suspect in the case, buy investigators believe he might have seen something that can help them.

"He may be a good witness for us," said Officer James Holmes. "That's what we're hoping."

Anyone who may have information about Newton's death or knows who the suspect may be is encouraged to call the Phoenix Police Department at 602-262-6151or Silent Witness at 480-WITNESS (948-6377), 1-800-343-TIPS (8477) or 480-TESTIGO (837-8446).

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