Neighbors fearful after 83-year-old woman attacked in her home

Residents of the Willard Park talk about the recent attack on a neighbor.
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Residents of an east side neighborhood are concerned after an 83-year-old woman was bound and left in the basement of her home this weekend.

The woman laid on the cold concrete of her basement for nearly two days, tied up with rope, her hands bound with plastic zip ties and duct tape over her mouth. Men who were hired to work at her house found the woman Monday morning. They said her hands and feet were swollen and black and blue from being tied up for so long.

She was incoherent and dehydrated when they found her, yet Monday night, that woman was in good condition at Wishard Hospital.

The woman's neighbors said they were still in shock over what had happened right under their noses.

"I think fear pushes us in that direction and we don't want to be a fear-based neighborhood," Sue Spicer, the president of the Willard Park Neighborhood Association, told people who lived across from the victim's home.

It was hard not to be afraid, though, for the people living in Willard Park Monday after they learned about what happened in the basement of the home in the 300 block of Jefferson Avenue.

"It's cruel. It's disgusting," said neighbor Brenna Riley when she thought of men breaking into an elderly woman's home, tying her up, gagging her and robbing her.

"This really crossed a line for our neighborhood. I've been hearing from residents who have been considering carrying their weapons in the past, are now seriously considering it because this really crossed a line," said Spicer.

It goes beyond that for one of the men who found the woman.

"I can't believe that somebody could have the heart to do that. I really don't," said Larry Lemasters.

At first, Lemasters said he didn't hear the woman's cries for help. At some point, though, he heard whimpering from the basement.

"She did say that she had worked the tape off her mouth with her saliva and her tongue and it took her about two hours to do that," Lemasters recalled.

Knowing how the woman suffered before anyone found her had neighbors asking what more they can do to protect themselves and each other.

"We need to talk about that in a more organized fashion. Most of the trouble is walking through our neighborhood," said Spicer.

"I guess what it comes down to is the neighborhood getting involved with each other and being more neighbors," added Riley.

Monday, those neighbors certainly were.

"We need to talk to each other, so I really need to see you Monday," Spicer told neighbors of the upcoming neighborhood crime watch meeting.

Neighbors said now more than ever, they were anxious to attend.