The stepson of a woman found dead in a north Oklahoma City homicide case said his family is terrified, but messages from friends and the public are helping them hold together.
Julie Mitchell, 34, was found dead in her Oklahoma City home near Edmond late Tuesday in what was first reported as a suicide by one of her stepsons. But police said after officers entered the house at 640 NW 150, it became clearer that the case was a homicide. Police said they have no suspect information.
Mitchell's 30-year-old stepson said he has received messages of condolences for the past 36 hours. He said his brother, another one of Mitchell's stepsons, found her body in the house late Tuesday. Family members are "out of sorts" and appreciate messages from people, even when family members can't provide any answers, he said.
"Keep the messages coming," he said. "We really appreciate it."
People have sent messages of support to Mitchell's Facebook page.
The stepson said he does not want his name used due to the nature of the investigation. He said his father, Teddy D. Mitchell, 56, was out of town when his stepmother's body was found.
Police have learned Teddy Mitchell is a bookie, someone who illegally collects bets on sporting events, authorities told The Oklahoman. It was unclear Thursday if that activity had anything to do with her death.
'You can't believe it'
Julie Mitchell, a member of LifeChurch, had numerous friends in Oklahoma City who are trying to find out when a funeral or memorial service will be.
But details have not been set, the stepson said.
"My family is terrified. I mean, you know it can happen to you but then when it does you can't believe it," he said.
Julie Mitchell's 13-month-old daughter is now with a family member.
Oklahoma City attorney Scott Adams said he spoke to police Tuesday night on Teddy Mitchell's behalf, but Teddy Mitchell has not formally retained his services. Adams said Teddy Mitchell was not at home at the time of his wife's death, but had no further comment.
An online profile listing Teddy Mitchell, 56, of Edmond, on PokerPages.com specifies about $9,000 in career winnings in three poker tournaments since 2006. He finished in second place in the most recently listed event, a February 2009 tournament at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Tulsa in which he won nearly $5,000.
The profile page lists Mitchell's hobbies as golf and sports betting, along with his favorite professional poker players and games.
Investigation in early stages
Oklahoma City police Master Sgt. Gary Knight said detectives will not comment about anything found inside the house. He said he is not aware of anything reported stolen.
Pathologists started examining Mitchell's body Thursday morning. Cherokee Ballard, spokeswoman for the state medical examiner's office, said a cause of death and manner of death has not been determined.
A 911 tape made to police when Julie Mitchell's body was found by her stepson will not be released because it is evidence, Knight said.
Police have said Julie Mitchell's body had trauma to it, but did not release further details. Anyone with information is asked to call the homicide tip line at 297-1200.
Contributing: Staff Writers Michael Kimball and Bob Doucette