STILWELL — A woman was being held in jail Tuesday on a murder complaint in connection with the death of an 88-year-old Stilwell woman.
Virgie Murphy, a woman known as a “neighborhood grandmother” in her community, was found dead Saturday with severe trauma to her body, Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation spokeswoman Jessica Brown said.
Tonya Watie, 20, of Stilwell, was being held without bail in Adair County jail on complaints of murder and burglary.
Watie was in Murphy's home when authorities responded to a 911 call, Brown said.
Brown said there is no indication the women knew each other.
Brown said the state medical examiner's office will conduct an autopsy to determine exactly how Murphy died. She said authorities are withholding information about who made the 911 call and specifics about the type of trauma Murphy suffered.
Murphy lived in a modest home in a rural neighborhood a mile south of Stilwell, sheriff's department investigator Jeremy Alverson said.
He said she was a well-known member of the community, and her death has been a shock to those who knew her.
“We have homicides — four this year in the county — but they're generally not nice, grandma-types who never hurt anyone,” Alverson said.
About 3,400 people live in Stilwell.
Murphy was a member of the First Baptist Church in Stilwell, said Ron Lacaze, the church's music director.
He said Murphy was homebound, and health problems kept her from attending church services, but he and the pastor had visited her every other week for the past eight years.
Lacaze said Murphy's home had been burglarized last year, but she never expressed concerns about living alone.
“She was an independent lady,” Lacaze said.