Prince George's County Police have arrested a 15-year-old in the murder of 92-year-old Thelma Elaine Steele.
William Roger Fitts has been charged with first-degree murder. Police say he has confessed to the crime.
"Mr. Fitts waived his rights and provided a statement implicating himself as the sole suspect in the commission of this homicide of Mrs. Steele," said Col. Craig Howard of Prince George's County Police.
Prince George's County police spokesman Cpl. Evan Baxter said Steele had been beaten and stabbed and that police had recovered a murder weapon. Baxter said Fitts lived in the same block as Steele and that he would be charged as an adult. He said the motive for the murder appears to be robbery.
The suspect's brother says this is hard for his family to understand and they were close with the victim. He says Fitts volunteered to shovel her snow and do odd jobs for her.
"He loved that woman and that woman really loved him. This doesn't fly. It just doesn't make sense. I really feel like he's really covering for something or someone," said Warren Fitts, William's brother.
Investigators say four other friends of the suspect were taken in for questioning at the same time with Fitts on Wednesday morning. But once there was a confession, the friends were released.
Sources tell FOX 5 the big break in this case came when Fitts allegedly attempted to use Steele's credit card.
Officers went to a home at the 2900 block of East Avenue at around 8:30 p.m. Monday night responding to a call to check on the welfare of an elderly resident. After forcing their way into the home, they found 92-year-old Thelma Elaine Steele suffering from trauma to the body. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
For the better part of Tuesday, Prince George's County police have called in resource after resource in an effort to solve this crime. At one point, there were three crime scene vans parked in front of the house as a K-9 team searched the yard and a field behind it.
"Nice lady, nice beautiful lady. Easy going, spry, no enemies, never hear her complaining,” said Robert Jackson, who lives two doors down from Thelma Steele.
Jackson describes their neighborhood as a place where people care about one another.
"It’s a good, beautiful neighborhood. Mostly senior citizens, mind our own business and look out for one another,” said Jackson.
As homicide detectives came and went, neighbors gathered on porches trying to recall when they had last seen Steele. News of her murder has left them frightened.
"It just boggles your mind to even think that something like this happening in your neighborhood to somebody 92 years old. That's sad, I just can't see it,” said neighbor Sabrina Barnes.
"It makes me very nervous because I'm here alone sometimes too. I do have my son and daughter live with me, but they go to work and go on vacation, so sometimes I'm here. So it doesn’t make me feel comfortable knowing that and I feel worse about her than myself,” said neighbor Gladys Hall.
By the end of the day, police officers could be seen going door to door, imparting safety advice and trying to calm nerves.
Neighbors say Steele lived in the home by herself and she has a daughter who lives in the area as well as a granddaughter.
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