Autopsy: elderly woman found dead in church was murdered

SOMERSET, Ky. (WTVQ)- Every murder is tragic, but Thursday came a particularly surprising case: an elderly woman found dead in her church.

An autopsy now confirms 70-year-old Ruthie Carolyn New was murdered.

Community members say New was much beloved and respected, especially at the church, Denham Street Baptist, they say her husband founded. It is the same church where she was found dead.

An autopsy Friday confirms New was murdered. Pulaski County Coroner Clyde Strunk says he knew her so it was disturbing when she was reported missing Thursday afternoon. About30 minutes later, police say her pastor had found a body.

“The church family is hurting. Our whole community is hurting because she was loved and respected so much,” Strunk said.

Strunk says New’s husband founded the church and was a pastor in the community for almost 40 years.

“Since his death five years ago she has made the church her life,” Strunk said.

Strunk says he quickly suspected homicide because of the scene. He says anyone would have seen a lot of blood loss.

“We knew that this was something that was an act of violence, that was aggressively done and that put everything into a different mode,” Strunk said.

Police say they cannot give too many details, but they are moving quickly, following up on leads.

“She was a very sweet lady and we want to do our best for her family and for her and do right by her,” Capt. Mike Correll said.

The coroner says he cannot ever remember hearing about a murder in a church in the county. He says he is confident police will find the person responsible.

“When we see these kinds of hideous crimes, it makes us back up and realize that we’re living in troubled times,” Strunk said.

Strunk says New’s funeral will take place at the Denham Street Baptist. Southern Oaks Funeral Home is making the arrangements. Strunk says tentatively the viewing will take place Sunday night and the funeral service will be Monday.

Categories: Local News, News

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