A 91-year-old Alabama woman who hired a homeless man to do yard work at her house was found dead, authorities said.
Mable Fowler was found dead by her caregiver.
The caregiver alerted the police, who rushed over and soon determined the death was a homicide.
“Miss Mable resided in this home her entire life,” Dothan Police Chief Steve Parrish told the Dothan Eagle. “She was a caring individual. She never got married or had any children.”
Video surveillance from a nearby location helped officers determine that Joe Nathan Duncan, 58, was in the area at the time of the death.
Fowler had hired Duncan three weeks prior to do yard work for her, police said.
“Miss Mable was murdered just for having a heart and trying to help someone,” Parrish said. “She tried to help someone and she was beaten to death. Once again, our thoughts and prayers go out to her family.”
Investigators said that Duncan has previous arrests for drug charges and first-degree burglary.
WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.
Parrish said that there’s no doubt that Duncan did it.
“I will say this—we have our man. Although we are searching for certain items, without any doubts we have our man. Right now we are trying to locate a black backpack. Whether the backpack is found or not, we have our man,” he said. “Due to the overwhelming compelling evidence, we have Joe Nathan Duncan and he is responsible for the death of Mable Fowler.”
“I know the question is going to be asked, did he confess?” Parrish added, reported WSFA. “The answer is, by the lies he told us we’ve got our man.”
The footage that helped place Duncan at the scene of the crime was located at Dothan Mini Storage South, which is just across the street from the home.
Surveillance cameras were installed there just days prior, said Manager Gary Frederick.
“To know if for no other reason that these cameras stopped somebody from ever doing the same thing again,” said Frederick. “If he had not been caught, if he did this, it’s a good chance he’ll do it again. Just to know that helped catch him, it makes us feel real good.”
Police officers said anyone who wants to hire people for yard work or other jobs are welcome to contact the department to have them check into the person’s background.
If convicted, Duncan could face the death penalty.