It had been a few days since neighbors and family had heard from Avanell Cowgill, so someone called police and asked them to check on her.
On Saturday night, officers found the back door to her home open and Cowgill dead inside the home. Police are not saying how she died or if anything was stolen, but they suspect this was a burglary.
Cowgill lived in the 11300 block of Earlywood Drive in East Dallas, next door to Jerry Calder's family. Calder knew her almost 25 years and remembers Cowgill as a thoughtful, attentive and giving friend. Happy memories surface but they are no match for the anger, frustration and a feeling no one on this street remembers ever having, fear.
"We have a security system now, but we're going to get it upgraded," said Sam Tucker, who lives two doors down from where Cowgill lived.
The last time anyone remembers hearing from Cowgill was Thursday, but on this street where nothing ever happens not seeing her Friday or Saturday didn't set off any alarm bells.
"I'd just see her picking up the paper every morning,” said David Dodson. “I hadn't seen her in a few days. My brother picked up her paper for three days and put it on the [her] porch.”
Neighbors said they don't remember seeing or hearing anything suspicious in recent days, but Calder said he'd love to be able to recall something that could help police.
"Things that go bump in the night, you don't get scared they're the boogie man or something, you don't go out and check every little thing that can be going on,” said Calder. “When something like this happens it makes you second guess. I need to keep an eye on things going on."
"I was just blown away,” said Tucker. “Just a sweet old lady lived down here, never hurt a fly, just a terrible, terrible tragic thing."
On Sunday evening Oak Farms Dairy said it’s offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and indictment in this murder case.
Police are asking for the public’s help in this case as they have no witnesses.
Anyone with information is asked to call Det. Scott Sayers at 214-671-3647.