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December 4, 2012

Police release name of elderly assault victim; locate ‘person of interest’

Police have released the identity of an elderly Cullman woman attacked in her home early Monday, and say an arrest in the case may be close at hand.

Helen Mayo, 87, was scheduled Tuesday to undergo surgery at UAB for injuries to her face from the attack — injuries so severe they’ve prevented her from speaking to investigators about what took place.

Due to incorrect information provided to The Times Monday, the victim’s age had previously been reported as 85.

Mayo, who lives alone at a home located near Cullman High School, was assaulted shortly after 7 a.m. Monday inside her house. Police believe the attacker didn’t have to force entry into the home, and aren’t calling the incident a home invasion.

They are, however, attempting to track down a suspect and a motive.

“As we speak, we have officers conducting a search warrant now at a location that we will disclose at a later time,” said assistant Cullman police chief Craig Green late Tuesday. “We have detained a person of interest, but we anticipate being able to make a formal arrest in the near future.”

Mayo’s neighbors called 911 Monday morning to report an emergency at her home, located at the intersection of 4th Avenue and 14th Street. Investigators spent Monday and Tuesday going over the residence to discern whether anything had been taken, but said their inability to hear the victim’s account of events made it tough to settle on robbery as a motive.

While her injuries aren’t considered life threatening, Green said the victim’s age does make her recovery a sensitive matter for medical staff.

“The injuries from the assault itself are pretty severe, but fortunately are not life threatening as I understand it,” Green said. “But, the doctors are concerned about infection, and about making sure she does not become susceptible to secondary problems like pneumonia.”

Benjamin Bullard can be reached by e-mail at bbullard@cullmantimes.com or by telephone at 734-2131 ext. 270.

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