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Police: Burlington woman was murdered - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Police: Burlington woman was murdered

Surveillance photo Surveillance photo
Surveillance photo Surveillance photo

Burlington, Vermont - October 19, 2010

A manhunt for a killer in Burlington... Investigators say a woman found dead her in home in the Old North End was murdered. The murder left friends of Kathleen Smith wondering who killed a woman who was kind to all and loved to garden.

Now police have released surveillance photos of a person they are trying to identify. Police are not calling the person a suspect, but they want to know who it is and they say the person may have important information about the case.

Meanwhile, news of the murder has Smith's neighbors on edge.

"I wasn't able to sleep at all last night," said Candice Cupp of Burlington.

Cupp says she's surprised and saddened by the death of her neighbor, Kathleen Smith.

"It makes me feel unsafe knowing that something like this would happen in our neighborhood," Cupp said.

Police say the woman was killed during a struggle inside her home on Park Street in the Old North End, where neighbors say she has lived alone for the past two decades. Her body was found there on Monday.

"The reporting person who discovered the body was a co-worker," said Burlington Police Lt. Jennifer Morrison. "This person had gone to the house to check on a colleague who had not shown up for work."

Police believe the murder happened sometime within the last week.

"While we do not yet know if the offender is known or unknown to the victim, we are making good progress and following numerous leads. Our investigation is ongoing and we have had contacts numerous persons of interest," Morrison said.

Tuesday, friends and neighbors set up a memorial for Smith on a fence she built around her garden over the summer. They described her as a kind, outgoing woman who kept to herself but would distribute flowers throughout the neighborhood.

"She loved to garden. I always saw her outside gardening. That was her passion," Cupp said.

Meanwhile, neighbors are on edge that a killer is on the loose.

"I go out at night, and I sit in the backyard. Now I am concerned about it. I don't want to leave the house at night, even during the day it is freaky," neighbor Jessica Dickson said.

This is the first murder in the city of Burlington since UVM student Michelle-Gardner Quinn was kidnapped, raped and murdered four years ago.

Police urge residents to take appropriate safety precautions. They also hope to hear from anyone who saw anything suspicious near 154 Park Street in the last week or anyone who can identify the person in the surveillance photos. They are offering a cash reward for information. Anyone with information is asked to call 802-540-2222.

Matt Henson - WCAX News

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