'She felt safe in that neighborhood': Family eager for answers in woman's homicide
SPRINGFIELD, Ore. - Dorothy "Dottie" Ashley had lived in a duplex on R Street for years.
"She felt safe in that neighborhood," said Richard Penn, Dottie's brother. "She told us that several times to us."
Belinda Penn had known Dottie for decades.
"I've known Dottie ever since I was 17 when I used to take care of her kids," she said. "I ended up marrying her brother."
Belinda said her sister-in-law had a heart of gold and would talk to anyone.
"She'd give the shirt off her back if she had to," she said.
Dottie, 76, was found dead August 5, 2016, the victim of a violent homicide police have only described as "a very personal attack."
"Shocked - didn't think that could ever happen to her," Richard said, recalling that day.
"When we got there we couldn't even go inside to say goodbye to her," Belinda said, "and that's when Detective Lewis come out and told us they were calling it a homicide."
Her death remains an open case; her killer remains at large.
"I still think it's within the realm of possibility that somebody has seen somebody in the neighborhood who maybe doesn't match, or they've seen circumstances that are odd," Lt. Scott McKee with Springfield Police said. "But I can tell you that the book is not closed on this case and it's not on a shelf."
The Penns don't blame police.
"They're doing the best they can," Belinda said. "They've followed up on every lead they've gotten."
But the lack of answers has left family members in limbo.
"Frustrating," Richard said. "There's a lot of anger, but it's mostly frustrating."
"Please come forward," Belinda added. "The family needs closure."
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