Tuscaloosa officials have determined the cause of death for an elderly woman found killed inside her Alberta home Sunday night.
Authorities have identified the victim as Kate Ragsdale, 73. Officials say she was a mother of two and had worked for the University of Alabama for more than 25 years.
Captain Loyd Baker with Tuscaloosa Metro Homicide said the cause of death for Kate Ragsdale is "sharp force injury," meaning she was stabbed to death. He added that they do not have a suspect in her murder at this time. The case is considered a home invasion homicide.
"We don't know who the suspect is. We believe she was murdered by an intruder. If that intruder had any relation or knowledge of her or an acquaintance of hers, we don't know at this point," Baker said.
Neighbors became concerned when they noticed that newspapers were stacking on her lawn and went to check on her. Police believe she had been dead for several days before her body was discovered by a neighbor who went inside to check on her.
Police were called to Ragsdale's home in The Highlands subdivision of Albert just after 5 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 24. Officers remained at the crime scene investigating overnight and on Monday.
Two crime scene teams went through the house collecting fingerprints and evidence, filling up several evidence bags.
Authorities say Ragsdale's pet dog was also found inside the home unharmed. A neighbor is now caring for the dog.
Investigators are now counting on Ragsdale's friends and neighbors to come forward to shed light about what was happening in her life in the days leading up to her death.
Kate Ragsdale was employed at the University of Alabama from 1979 until she retired in 2006. She joined the UA Libraries in 1983 and worked for the Business Library. She was appointed a planning officer with the library association in 1987 and oversaw several library construction and renovation projects, according to a spokesperson for UA.
UA Associate Vice President for University Relations Deborah Lane released this statement about Ms. Ragsdale's death:
"Kate Ragsdale played a key role in the growth and development of the University Libraries in her long career as a planning officer, and had remained actively involved with the UA Retiree Association since her retirement in 2006. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends during this difficult time."
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