A relative who couldn’t reach 80-year-old Ruby Ross feared something was wrong.
When she couldn’t contact the Arkansas grandmother on the phone May 16, Leann Ross, her daughter, called the Benton County Sheriff’s Office. A deputy who checked on the elderly woman’s home on Blue Jay Road in Pea Ridge couldn’t make contact with her either, and saw nothing to suggest that anyone had broken in, TV station KNWA reports.
Leann Ross then went to check for herself, and afterward called the deputy at 7:20 p.m. with alarm.
“Someone murdered my mother!,” she said, according to an affidavit obtained by the news station.
The medical examiner later determined that Ruby Ross died from blunt force trauma to her head, said Benton County Prosecutor Nathan Smith, the Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette newspaper reports. She was still in her bed, wearing nightclothes and lying on her side with a book and her glasses nearby, according to the affidavit.
She’d been struck at least four times, apparently with a hammer, leaving a large open wound on her head, the autopsy revealed.
Authorities who later searched the property checked an outhouse about 100 feet behind the residence where they found a black trash bag containing a blood-stained hammer, butcher knife and bloody gloves, reports news station KFSM.
Inside the trash bag, they also found bank statements containing the name of Ross’s granddaughter, Andrea Wilson.
On Monday, the Benton County Sheriff’s Office announced on its Facebook page that Wilson, 26, had been arrested and charged with capital murder.
The affidavit in the case says the day before she was found dead, Ross had filed paperwork to remove Wilson’s name from the deed to Ross’s property, and that Wilson had received a financial judgment requiring her to pay $11,569 to the credit card issuer Capital One, per KNWA.
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Authorities also found a discrepancy in Wilson’s account that her Honda Accord had been towed away, the affidavit revealed. She said it was towed on May 14. But the towing agency said its agent picked up the vehicle at 8:30 a.m. May 16 at the Ross residence, and met Wilson there.
A search of the vehicle found possible blood on the driver’s side door, the document shows.
Prosecutor Smith declined to speculate on a motive for the murder.
“It’s something that will be looked at as the investigation moves forward,” he said, according to KNWA.
An attorney who might speak on Wilson’s behalf was not identified, and it’s not clear if Wilson has entered a plea prior to her arraignment scheduled for July 18.
Records show she is being held in the Benton County jail on a $750,000 bond, charged with capital murder and tampering with evidence.