NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Police in Essex County, New Jersey are searching for answers after an elderly woman was found dead in her apartment early Saturday.
Authorities say 76-year-old Adela Padilla was discovered inside her home on Summer Avenue in Newark around 7 a.m.
Medics arrived on scene and pronounced her dead just after 7:30.
CBS2’s Reena Roy spoke with her nephew who said her daughter found her dead with blood all over and a broken neck. He said it appears she was strangled.
The family said Padilla moved to her home from Puerto Rico more than 50 years ago and lived there ever since with her daughter and granddaughter. They described her as the matriarch of the neighborhood who made sweets for her neighbors during the holidays.
Family and neighbors said they have no idea who could have killed her.
“I don’t think she had any enemies,” neighbor Ramon Rodriguez said. “You could ask all the neighbors, you could knock on every door and everybody would tell you that she was a very nice lady, sweet.”
“She would always say ‘hello’ to everybody. Everybody on the block knew her on both sides of the street,” he added. “First thing she asks, ‘how you doing? how’s your wife? how’s pops?’ Always concerned about other individuals.”
“I’m surprised, because the lady was a very nice lady,” another neighbor said.
Police say Padilla’s death is being investigated as a homicide.
“I’m shaken up, because you know it’s close, and I’ve known her for so many years,” said neighbor Anna Keyton. “It’s a hard thing to have to deal with, because I mean this is pretty quiet neighborhood.”
Padilla leaves behind two children and several grandchildren.
No arrests have been made as the investigation is ongoing.