NEW YORK (CBS 2) – Police continued their search Thursday for the person behind the deadly stabbing of an elderly woman inside her home in the Bronx. As Magee Hickey reports, neighbors were distraught over the woman who spent her life trying to keep her neighborhood safe.

Tears fell and memorial candles flickered out front for Ethal Parish. Inside the Murphy Houses on Crotona Avenue, supervisor Norma Plaza sat the tenant patrol desk where the 70-year-old used to sit.

She showed Hickey Ethal’s sign-in sheet on Monday, the last day she worked to keep her neighbors safe before being killed.

“She was a wonderful lady. She had a good heart. She was always there when I needed her. Even when I didn’t need her she was there,” said Plaza.

“She’s very nice. She’s known all around Tremont, Crotona. I can’t see anyone trying to hurt her. Never seen anything like this in the building. Seen all kinds of things, but nothing like this,” said neighbor George Adorno.

Police said there were no signs of forced entry at Parish’s 15th floor apartment. When the grandmother of two didn’t show up for her tenant patrol desk duty Wednesday, police said her son went to her apartment and found her with several stab wounds to her back.

Neighbors remembered a warm and caring person who had lived in the building longer than anyone else, perhaps 40 years.

“She was the first to take care of the building. Make sure no one in the hallway. Crazy what happened,” said Diego Mateo.

Tenants complained that security was lax at night. No one was on desk duty after 8 p.m. They said the front door is always open and there were no security cameras visible anywhere.

“They should have security months and years ago,” said neighbor Janette Hines.

Hines knew the victim for more than 40 years and said Parish knew the importance of staying on her guard and keeping her door locked.

“They had to have pushed her in the door. They had to be following her. She’s not the type to open the door for anyone,” Hines said.

“When they fix the door, it lasts only about five minutes. They break it. Ninety percent of us don’t have a key,” said Pia Allen.

On Tuesday, neighbors said, the older woman stayed home and skipped desk duty to have her radiator repaired but neighbors doubt that. Neither do they believe her work patrolling the lobby and hallways of her apartment building had anything to do with her murder.

A spokeswoman for the New York City Housing Authority said they were looking into security issues at the Houses.

There are no suspects at this time and there is a $12,000 reward being offered to anyone who can provide information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person(s) responsible for the homicide.

Anyone with information in regard to this incident is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website at or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES), then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

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